I got a box full of items from which I need to move them one by one. The box is a 10cm x 10cm x 30cm container with hundreds of these small pieces, each the size of an average rice corn. Now I need to extract one of these rice corns (every item has the same size and weight) and provide them to the next instance but that is not part of the problem.

To be more precise: Those "items" are iron beads. I got multiple containers for each color and I want to pick the proper color (I know the position of each container), but only one per round. I.e. the robotic arm would need to move from a specific position to the appropriate container (already implemented) and fetch only one iron bead to deliver it to the main system which then does something else with it.

Now I've been brainstorming on how to gather a piece with the highest chance of success. What follows are some concepts:

Using a robotic arm. The picking head needs to be small enough + inaccuracy when trying to pick the item. Having a small tube and trying to only let one item out (time as a constraint?) My question: Does anyone have a qualitative idea (ideally with practical experience) on how to select a single small piece out of a big box?

I'm using a Raspberry Pi 4 with Ubuntu installed. The box can be changed. The whole set-up may be changed as well, I'm just looking for a reliable, preferably uncomplicated way to use these small items (they do not have any special properties like being magnetic, etc.) in a timely manner.

  • $\begingroup$ Am also willing to give a bounty for a qualitative walk-through reply with examples of deployment including hardware links and/or a setup concept. $\endgroup$ Aug 4 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ look at seed sowing machines $\endgroup$
    – jsotola
    Aug 5 at 0:28
  • $\begingroup$ @jsotola Thanks for the suggestion, though I wasn't able to find any in-depth explanation on how to construct such a pick-up efficiently as well as in a cheap manner using Raspberry Pi 4. Was looking for a detailed explanation, preferably including some experience on how to set it up. $\endgroup$ Aug 5 at 15:21
  • $\begingroup$ the Raspberry Pi is irrelevant to the question ... it is just a linux computer ... the question is about materials handling, which is mechanical $\endgroup$
    – jsotola
    Aug 5 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ I'm afraid that Unbounded Design Questions are off-topic because there are many ways to solve any given design problem. We prefer answerable questions based on actual problems that you face, so questions which ask for a subjective recommendation on a method (for how to build something, how to accomplish something, etc.) are off-topic. Please take a look at How to Ask & tour for more information on how stack exchange works. $\endgroup$
    – Tully
    Aug 5 at 22:45


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