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Slideshow: Robotic Hands Mimic Humans
3/22/2013

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Based on the DLR Hand II, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) jointly developed the DLR/HIT Hand II as a medium-cost multisensory robotic hand. The DLR/HIT Hand II has five fingers, each with three actuators, that are identical except that one of them has an additional drive to make it work as an opposing thumb. To fully emulate human fingers' motor functions, each finger has four joints, not three, and each joint has force and position sensors. The  DLR/HIT Hand II has a total of 15 degrees of freedom (DOF), compared to 13 in the original DLR Hand II. Fingers are equipped with slip-resistant gripper surfaces. Integration of drives and electronics within the hand itself is intended to make it easier to mount on a wide variety of robot arms.
  (Source: German Aerospace Center (DLR))
Based on the DLR Hand II, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) jointly developed the DLR/HIT Hand II as a medium-cost multisensory robotic hand. The DLR/HIT Hand II has five fingers, each with three actuators, that are identical except that one of them has an additional drive to make it work as an opposing thumb. To fully emulate human fingers' motor functions, each finger has four joints, not three, and each joint has force and position sensors. The DLR/HIT Hand II has a total of 15 degrees of freedom (DOF), compared to 13 in the original DLR Hand II. Fingers are equipped with slip-resistant gripper surfaces. Integration of drives and electronics within the hand itself is intended to make it easier to mount on a wide variety of robot arms.
(Source: German Aerospace Center (DLR))

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apresher
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Robotic Hands
apresher   3/22/2013 8:37:29 AM
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Ann, Great slideshow.  What an impressive group of robotic solutions with the singular focus on robotic hands. It's amazing the amount of research and effort going into this area.

a.saji
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Re: Robotic Hands
a.saji   3/22/2013 11:30:49 AM
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“It's amazing the amount of research and effort going into this area.” @apresher: Exactly some amazing robotic stuff. I fear that the world might not need humans to do work hereafter. A plus as well as a risk that might hit the world if it not being used properly.

Charles Murray
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Re: Robotic Hands
Charles Murray   3/22/2013 5:23:13 PM
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Great slideshow, Ann. I like the Shadow Roboto Dextrous Hand. Making a robot that can accomplish tasks gently is an art.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Robotic Hands
Elizabeth M   3/25/2013 11:42:48 AM
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Isn't that true, Chuck? Making robotic movements fluid is still something that engineers need to work on. I saw this recent story that was quite interesting...about a robotic arm that creates delicate art: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1671977/watch-delicate-art-made-with-a-massive-robotic-arm#1

 

Great slideshow, Ann!

ScotCan
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Re: Robotic Hands
ScotCan   3/25/2013 12:53:03 PM
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Where fluidity of movement is concerned Scotland has already developed such a robotic prosthetic. It is surprising that it has not been included in this slideshow since it is the most advanced of all. 

 Http://vimeo.com/17086373

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Robotic Hands
Ann R. Thryft   3/25/2013 4:25:49 PM
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Thanks for the link ScotCan. We'll consider that one for inclusion in a future slideshow.

Charles Murray
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Re: Robotic Hands
Charles Murray   3/25/2013 9:00:09 PM
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That's an amazing video, Liz. It's scary in a way, too, because the ability to understand and appreciate beauty has always been one of those characteristics that we consider uniquely human.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Robotic Hands
Elizabeth M   3/26/2013 9:03:57 AM
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It's pretty incredible, isn't it, Chuck? We don't often think of robots creating art, mostly just performing mechanical tasks. So it's interesting to see a robot taking a different tack to do something purely for the sake of beauty. And not so scary, though, if you think that ultimately a human did create all of that! Funny, though, how we think of robots as their own, autonomous beings, and forget sometimes humans are behind them (in terms of programming, development etc.).

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Robotic Hands
Ann R. Thryft   3/26/2013 11:47:53 AM
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Thanks for the link Elizabeth. That reminds me of the ABB robot arm painting people's dreams--actually, taking sensor data of sleeping people: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=254180

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Robotic Hands
Ann R. Thryft   3/26/2013 11:48:35 AM
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Thanks, Chuck. I was surprised at the delicacy that one is capable of.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Robotic Hands
Ann R. Thryft   3/25/2013 12:59:23 PM
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Thanks, Al. I was surprised at how much work had been done, and how much progress had been made.

NadineJ
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3,4 or 5 needed?
NadineJ   3/22/2013 12:58:19 PM
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I agree, this is a cool slide show.  And, there have been great advances in dexterity in robotic hands.

I'm curious about research into the number of fingers that are really needed and how the assigned task determines that need. Does a robot need a pinky?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3,4 or 5 needed?
Ann R. Thryft   3/25/2013 1:03:26 PM
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Nadine, I also found that question interesting--how many fingers and what types? I didn't see any discussions of pinkies--I suspect they're unnecessary. I did, of course, see a lot about thumbs.

GTOlover
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Re: 3,4 or 5 needed?
GTOlover   3/25/2013 3:33:54 PM
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Given that the post is "Robotic Hands Mimic Humans" and humans have pinkies, it would be good to include this appendage. I am not sure you would call the pinkie useless as it adds an additional control, like throwing a football. Yes it can be done without a pinky, but is it as precise?

Seems a lot of good designs already exist in nature and we just need to copy them to mimic them.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3,4 or 5 needed?
Ann R. Thryft   3/25/2013 4:24:57 PM
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GTOlover, mimic doesn't mean "reproduce exactly," at least not in robotics. I was a little surprised that a pinky--i.e., a short final finger--didn't make the grade, but only a little. One of the main goals to be traded off in most of these projects was cost, so five digits weren't usually necessary. You don't need a pinky--as per definition given above--to throw a football, although a fifth finger is helpful. To throw it like a pro player? Yeah, it's probably needed. But that's not what these bots are built for. Plus, the functioning of only four fingers can be vastly improved over the human grasping system, as mentioned in a few of the slide captions.

Elizabeth M
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Re: 3,4 or 5 needed?
Elizabeth M   3/26/2013 9:20:17 AM
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Your comment, Ann, makes me think about how much we can learn about human movement in the development of robots...even as engineers mimic human movement to develop robots. I would have never looked at the pinky quite that way, but it's true, isn't it?

Charles Murray
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Re: 3,4 or 5 needed?
Charles Murray   3/25/2013 9:03:14 PM
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GTOlover: When I think of the importance of a pinky on a robot, I always think of the scene from the movie Jurassic Park, where the robotic hands gently lift and re-position the dinosaur eggs. Pinkies definitely have an important role in minimizing handheld forces.

Greg M. Jung
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Tactile Feedback
Greg M. Jung   3/22/2013 10:10:09 PM
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I'm especially impressed with the advances in tactile feedback on new designs.  Manipulating delicate objects is an added feat.

sensor pro
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Re: Tactile Feedback
sensor pro   3/25/2013 9:18:13 AM
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Very impressive advances. Did some work many yers ago at the robotics lab at URI. Loved it.

 

Would like to ask if someone knows of an ACTIVE-X comtrol that mimics movements of left or right hand.

Please post a link or info.

Thank you.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Tactile Feedback
Ann R. Thryft   3/27/2013 2:36:15 PM
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Greg, I agree about the new tactile abilities. They're considered part of the leading edge of robotic hand design.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Tactile Feedback
Cabe Atwell   5/18/2014 6:10:33 PM
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This would be great if they could adapt it for use with amputees. 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Tactile Feedback
Ann R. Thryft   5/21/2014 12:46:46 PM
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As it turns out, developing robot hands for amputees and others with hand/arm problems is a somewhat different set of design problems from developing them for industrial uses. We've covered a few of those in DN.



Measurementblues
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Students of robotics
Measurementblues   3/25/2013 9:16:53 AM
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Last week, I visited Worcester Polytechnic Institute's robotics department. WPI was the firs university in the nation to offer a BS degree in robotics. See my first of two reports in Students Design Robots.

This report looks at the over all program. Tomorrow's will look at a specific project.

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