Amazon patents robot that tosses warehouse items

Robotic tossing machine
A diagram from Amazon’s patent application shows robotic arms coordinating their movements to toss a dwarf figurine, a mug and a rubber ducky into designated warehouse bins. (Amazon Illustration via USPTO)

Robots are nothing new for Amazon’s fulfillment centers, but a newly issued Amazon patent envisions robots that could toss items around those centers.

The 27-page patent, published July 17, describes robotic arms or manipulators that can use sensors to identify objects, figure out how best to grab onto them, calculate the required trajectories and fling the objects into chutes or bins.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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