The Scoop
automating the ice cream scooping process

December 22, 2016

Employees who scoop ice cream for a living often times end up with wrist problems due to the strain on their wrist from the repetitive acion of scooping ice cream; our group chose to tackle this problem. As part of the final project for an "Intro to Robotics" course at Columbia University, our team of 4 students (Tracie Brown, Christie Capper, Chad Tarpley, and me) designed and modeled the kinematics of an ice cream scooping robot.

We wanted our robot's motion to mimic that of a human's as closely as possible, so we decided to use a 7 degree of freedom (DoF) configuration that gave us the dexterity and reach to scoop ice cream from any point in a regulation size ice cream bucket. I modeled the robot in SolidWorks and created an animation that shows the types of motion paths that are involved during the act of scooping (above). The configuration of the robot's joints are shown below; 1 prismatic joint followed by 6 revolute joints.

In order to get accurate motion paths, we went to local creameries and ice cream shops to research their methods (below).

The final deliverable for our project was a presentation of our work and a final research write-up explaining the problem statement and our approach to solving the problem. The paper below lays out our process and method of analysis for this problem.