The field of soft robotics, in which soft and flexible materials are used for robotic grippers, has been seeing a lot of attention from the innovation community since the emergence of the company Soft Robotics in 2012. Soft Robotics' unique gripper uses silicone fingers actuated by pressurized air. This novel approach is protected by patents exclusively licensed from Harvard University's Whitesides Research Group, which originally kept copycats away in certain markets. As the company's success started to reveal large market opportunities in the food and agriculture industries, other companies like Piab and Festo started catching on and releasing their own versions of a soft robotic gripper.
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