Hello Robot introduces Stretch 3 open-source mobile manipulator

Hello Robot launched the third edition of its mobile manipulator robot today. It described Stretch 3 as a refinement over the previous edition, which was popular as a research platform. The company said it has improved the manufacturability and the usability of the robot.

New features in Stretch 3 include a rotating 3D camera at the top of the mast, designed for perception functions and observing the environment around the robot. Another key feature is a more robust DexWrist 3 gripper, which now includes a built-in 3D camera to enable vision servoing of the gripper fingers.

The wrist is equipped with a quick-change feature that enables the gripper to be quickly swapped out for specialized end effectors or even an iPad (as seen in the video above).

view of the mobile manipulator and wrist of the Hello Robot.
Stretch 3 includes several updates, including a quick-change wrist, a wrist-mounted camera, and strengthened materials. | Credit: Hello Robot

Hello Robot serves growing open-source community

Stretch 3 empowers a growing community of developers to create a future in which friendly robots fold laundry, feed pets, support older adults, and enhance life in new ways, according to Hello Robot. If there is a “secret sauce” to the go-to market plan for Stretch, it has to be the vibrant research community that has grown to support the platform.

“With Stretch 3, we are taking a real step towards a future with home robots,” said Dr. Aaron Edsinger, Hello Robot co-founder and CEO. “We designed Stretch 3 to help our community leverage recent advances in AI.”

Charlie Kemp, co-founder and chief technology officer of Hello Robot, was a professor at Georgia Tech University and brought the research credibility and connections that fueled the initial development of Stretch. His robotics laboratory at Georgia Tech deployed the first few versions of the robot and put it through its paces as a research platform.

Stretch 3 specs

  • Payload: 2 kg (4.4 lb.)
  • Weight: 24.5 kg (54 lbs.)
  • Size: 33 x 34 x 141 cm (13 x 13.4 x 55.5 in.)
  • Runtime: Two to five hours
  • Software development kit: ROS 2 and Python

top of mast view, including a new rotating 3D camera.
Stretch 3 includes a rotating 3D camera at the top of its mast, enabling perception of the surrounding area and AI-based motion. | Credit: Hello Robot

Software to extend mobile manipulation

These robots will need applications for versatile uses. Hello Robot’s open platform has attracted innovators from across the world, including Fortune 500 companies, top-tier research labs, and universities in over 14 countries. Members of its developer community regularly release open code, data, models, publications, and educational materials, accelerating progress toward a future with household robots.

Edsinger told Mobile Robot Guide that he envisions an online “app store” for Stretch where the community can share new skills that users can download and install onto the robot. Each user could then customizing the robot with the desired capabilities for their unique needs.

“Thanks to advances in AI, robots like Stretch are developing faster than expected,” said Edsinger. “A robot autonomously doing laundry was once considered a long-term ‘grand challenge’ but is now within reach.”

Stretch can help with household chores

During a recent visit to Hello Robot headquarters in Martinez, Calif., I had the opportunity to observe V Nguyen, an occupational therapist at Hello Robot, as she demonstrated the Stretch 3 to a end user with disabilities. I asked the individual about how he might envision using the robot.

The most important goal of this end user is to regain some agency and independence with some of the most basic in-home tasks. They include retrieving a pair of pants from the floor or even helping to dress in the morning.

The user cited other tasks like opening and closing a deadbolt on the front door, or removing a hot dish from the microwave. Stretch offers the potential of improving the daily lives of numerous people while enabling them to maintain their independence.

In January 2023, Hello Robot earned a $2.5 million grant from the National Institute of Health to help commercialize its technology.

Stretch 3 is priced at $24,950 and is available now on Hello Robot’s website for researchers, educators, developers, and enthusiasts.

hello robot stretch3.
Stretch 3 is portable, lightweight, and designed from the ground up to work around people. | Credit: Hello Robot

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Written by

Mike Oitzman

Mike Oitzman is Senior Editor of WTWH's Robotics Group, cohost of The Robot Report Podcast, and founder of the Mobile Robot Guide. Oitzman is a robotics industry veteran with 25-plus years of experience at various high-tech companies in the roles of marketing, sales and product management. He can be reached at moitzman@wtwhmedia.com.