With 20 degrees of freedom (DOF), fingertip touch sensors, and multiple force and position sensors, Shadow Robot's Dexterous Hand is one of the most sophisticated and human-like. In addition to the 20 actuated DOF, the hand also has four under-actuated movements. Each joint has position sensors and each actuator has force sensors. The Dexterous Hand also contains sensors for detecting temperature, motor current, and voltage. The range of movements of each of the 24 joints is very similar to a human hand's, including the idosyncratic movements of the thumb's articulation and how the palm flexes to control the little finger. The palm also contains a control board for add-on capabilities. A total of 129 sensors provide data or manipulation control via a high-bandwidth EtherCAT interface. The Hand runs the open-source Robot Operating System (ROS). (Source: Shadow Robot)
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.
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
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?
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.).
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.
Both traditional automation companies and startups are developing technologies to improve processes on the factory floor, while smart sensors and other IoT-related technologies are improving how products are handled during transport and across the supply chain.
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