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Thread: How good are the best robotic hands these days?

  1. #1 How good are the best robotic hands these days? 
    Time Lord
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    I'm just curious. I know NASA has a robonaut with pretty decent hands that that use tiny electric motors mounted in the wrists. And there's this company called Shadow that makes a hand driven by compressed air valves mounted in the wrist.

    Anyone know of any other good ones?


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  3. #2 Re: How good are the best robotic hands these days? 
    Forum Ph.D. Wolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I'm just curious. I know NASA has a robonaut with pretty decent hands that that use tiny electric motors mounted in the wrists. And there's this company called Shadow that makes a hand driven by compressed air valves mounted in the wrist.

    Anyone know of any other good ones?
    Well, the NASA robotic hand supposedly can achieve nearly all the degrees of freedom that the human operator's hand can, and having seen this I can believe that's pretty true. Not 100% of course, but pretty darn close.

    One of my friends who works in the prosthetics field was telling me about a new artificial hand in development that could potentially have very high dexterity. Remotely operated by another real hand, the hand was able to play the piano pretty well.

    I think the current major issues with robotic human-like hands are getting all the control systems sorted out. Movement can be achieved with current engineering techniques for creating parts, but the dexterity requires fine motor control. That control needs sensors and such to relay positional information. Then, if strength is needed, there has to be a way to provide strength to the system without making it weight too much.

    The more we advance in the areas of pneumatics and synthetic-tissues, the more we will be able to duplicate the human hand, which will probably ultimately lead to the development of a robotic clone of the human hand that can perform as well, or better.


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  4. #3  
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    try a little research into nitinol.....
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  5. #4  
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    For some tasks, nonhuman hand shapes can be more practical than human-shaped hands. The most recent winner of a certain Japan robot contest (of which I forget the name) uses a non-human gripper for "pick and place" operations.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rick.taiwan
    For some tasks, nonhuman hand shapes can be more practical than human-shaped hands. The most recent winner of a certain Japan robot contest (of which I forget the name) uses a non-human gripper for "pick and place" operations.
    True, in many ways the human hand is probably not the perfect design. Just like a human eye may be far less practical than a high-resolution camera.

    But some features of 'human designs' may be quite interesting to try to imitate. For example human organs can function in a wide range of situations: the eye can combine a wide range of colours and light intensities in one picture, while a camera would average out much of the difference (that's why pictures never really look as pretty as we see the world: detail is no problem, but the range of light intensities is). The hand can carry out an amazing range of tasks, if only we learn how to perform them and coordinate our movements. And it might be useful if a robotic hand would be as adaptable as a human hand: if you consistently use your hands in a certain way, your muscles and coordination will adapt to it and become more specialized (for example my fingers are strong yet flexible as I play guitar; a miner may have much stronger but less flexible hands). But then again, the human hand can't plan how it adapts, it just reacts to stimuli; but we can plan how we'll use a machine and design it specifically for that purpose instead of letting it evolve towards it.
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