Smart Grow-and-Twine Gripper for Vegetable Harvesting in Vertical Farms

Jiajun Liu*, Wenjie Lai, Bing Rui Sim, Joel Ming Rui Tan, Shlomo Magdassi, Soo Jay Phee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Vertical farming has emerged as a sustainable, efficient, and climate-resilient food production method, which can improve food security. In most commercial vertical farms, harvesting is carried out manually, which are labor-intensive and costly. Numerous robotic grippers solutions have been developed for harvesting. However, they have limitations like restricted adaptivity, excessive mechanical stress on target, and poor accessibility, hindering their adoption for harvesting. Here, we present a tendon-driven gripper equipped with a capacitance-based contact sensor array. The proposed gripper can grow and twine around the target vegetable and adjust the tightness of its grip based on number of contacts. The proposed gripper can generate 4 to 10 N pulling force on bok choy and can also grip various gourds, leafy and podded vegetables. This work paves the way for harvesting automation in vertical farms. Apart from agriculture field, the smart gripper can also be used to grasp objects with various size, shape and weight in warehouse, and food & beverage industry.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publication2024 IEEE 7th International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2024
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9798350381818
StatePublished - 2024
Event7th IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2024 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 14 Apr 202417 Apr 2024

Publication series

Name2024 IEEE 7th International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2024


Conference7th IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2024
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 IEEE.


  • graspers and other end-effectors
  • robotics and automation in agriculture and forestry
  • soft capacitive sensor
  • tendon / wire mechanism

Cite this