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SWITL - what could this be? Ultra thin paper with some adhesive that binds to fat? (or as I originally thought, a hoax)?

A robotic hand to scoop gel-like substances...

http://japantechniche.com/2009/06/09/the-world-first-robotic-hand-scoop-switl/

Truly weird video - looks like some kind of super gluey paper

http://furukawakiko.com/tech/page285.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQECrcZs6W

Update: I did do a patent search. I think it might be this patent I found via Espacenet

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migrated from skeptics.stackexchange.com Mar 28 '11 at 19:12

This question came from our site for scientific skepticism.

    
Welcome to Skeptics.SE. I'm not sure what you're asking here, could you please make more clear what claim you're skeptical about? Please see our FAQ for more information. –  Mad Scientist Mar 27 '11 at 8:54
    
@Fabien: So what you are saying, this is for the physics.stackexchange.com ? –  mplungjan Mar 27 '11 at 13:35
    
@mplungjan: Is there a specific claim here that you suspect is inaccurate? –  Shog9 Mar 27 '11 at 19:09
    
@shog No if you look at the video it just look too weird to be true... Actually the video at their site looks more convincing than the youtube one. But could you please move it to physics if you feel it is off topic. I certainly didn't when I wrote it –  mplungjan Mar 27 '11 at 20:34
    
@mplungjan: Watching an airplane take off looks too weird to be true... You can try Physics if you want, but here or there I think you'll want to be more specific about what you find hard to believe. –  Shog9 Mar 28 '11 at 2:56
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4 Answers 4

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The main thing here is the clever belt system.

To avoid some traces adhering to this belt, I'd use belts made from PTFE. PTFE is hydrophobic and oleophobic as well.

The only substances which could make problem were fluorinated detergents. (But those are not used in food technology, afaik)

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Even though it seems quite impressive, it appears to be exactly what the company's site says it is. It is a product in testing intended to transfer dough in assembly line-situations. Apparently they have taken a demo to food service industry conventions in Japan for the past few years.

Obviously they are not divulging the specifics of this particular piece of equipment, because it states that a patent is pending. It is reasonable to theorize that the machine is utilizing some property, material, or process that is uniquely suited to moving non-newtonian or high viscosity liquids such as ketchup, mayonaise or dough which all behave differently depending on composition and where and how force is applied to them.

However, if you have the patience and the time, you could attempt a patent search to find out the specifics. While there is not yet enough information available to determine if it will function as well as it seems to in the ad (and what ever does?) there is no reason to think it is a hoaxed video.

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+1 for the non-newtonian and high viscosity liquids :) Please see update –  mplungjan Mar 27 '11 at 11:45
    
+1 because I could :) –  mplungjan Apr 7 '11 at 6:55
    
-1 for assumptions without use. –  Georg Apr 23 '11 at 10:06
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If you look at it closely, it seems as though that the film on the platform is being rotated inwards as the assembly sticks out its platform. That's why the platform doesn't have to be absolutely level with the surface the condiments are spread on.

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Yes I saw that, but even the SMEAR gets lifted off –  mplungjan Apr 7 '11 at 6:54
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I think they add some vibration to the belt to help substance to stick off.

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Vibration to make the viscous stuff flow easily? –  Georg Apr 23 '11 at 13:55
    
I second this answer. Vibration is used for the subtance to unstich from the surface and to move it. It is obviously vibration, no other thing can do it. –  Anixx Jan 15 '12 at 22:56
    
After viewing the other video youtube.com/watch?v=keX1-65rrLE&feature=related I must admit that vibration is not involved here. :-( –  Anixx Jan 16 '12 at 0:22
    
Could you please elaborate? –  Manishearth Nov 30 '12 at 13:11
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