Immune from virus, robots relieve food aid packers

NEW YORK—“Star Wars” robot R2-D2 cannot deliver Thanksgiving dinner to your door, but his relatives are doing the packing.

Immune from the coronavirus, industrial robotic arms are assembling donated holiday food in a Boston suburb, allowing elderly volunteers to stay home in a pandemic that has doubled hungry households.

In Bedford, Massachusetts, the whirring arms studded with suction cups pick, sort and pack such Thanksgiving staples as potatoes and stuffing. Humans will ship them to two nonprofit groups to distribute to people in need.

“Picking with Purpose” is a partnership between artificial intelligence firm Berkshire Grey and Greater Boston Food Bank and City Harvest in…

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