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Slideshow: Robotic Hands Mimic Humans

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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.

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.

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.

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.).

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?

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.

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