Memphis company develops robot for heavy-lifting jobs in logistics industry

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 8:41 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Memphis company is building new robotic technology that could help ease the workload on a person working in a warehouse.

Inside Crosstown Concourse, a robotics startup company called Dextrous Robotics has spent the last 18 months developing and building a robot they call “Chopsticks.”

“Chopsticks, just like what they enable people to do, allow you to do just that. So, you can pick up different shapes, sizes, weights of things. They can be slippery or wet,” said Evan Drumwright, founder and CEO of Dextrous Robotics.

Chopsticks is a robot that’s manually operated by a person on a computer that has the ability to pick up and move packages of up to 88 pounds. The robot moves those packages out of a shipping container or truck and into a warehouse for organizing and transport.

Chopsticks is a lot more efficient than any human.

“It’s able to move about four times as fast as a human. And so it’s incredibly powerful,” said Drumwright.

Logistics is a major industry in Memphis with the Memphis International Airport moving more cargo than any other airport in the world.

Chopsticks would allow humans to stop performing the taxing and dangerous manual labor of moving boxes.

Drumwright says rather than losing jobs, this new robotic technology would create new ones, such as building, operating, and maintaining the robot.

“People are being pushed to their limits as if they are machines. Why do that? Machines are really what should be doing these kinds of jobs. You always look at an increase of jobs with any new piece of technology and automation that comes about,” Drumwright said.

With increased efficiency and safety using Chopsticks, packages could also be delivered to your door even faster.

The design for Chopsticks was recently completed and the first robots will arrive in Memphis in the next week to be deployed in pilot projects across Memphis over the next year.

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