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At a vast greenhouse in the central Danish city of Odense, a squad of robots moves thin plastic pots of herbs for shipping without even putting a dent in them. For moviegoers used to seeing humanoid machines in action, that might not seem special — but in truth, it’s a remarkable feat.

Robots until recently have been limited to precise, preprogrammed and repetitive heavy-duty jobs such as automotive manufacturing. Yet at the Rosborg Food greenhouse, the OnRobot A/S devices adjust on the fly. One pot might be slightly out of position. The next might be a little heavy.

Robots that can see, learn and grip different items are advancing quickly into the retail, food-and-beverage,

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