GM's Robo-Glove incorporates four tiny servo motors, four gearheads, and four ball screws, along with a lithium-ion battery, in a package worn on the forearm. The motors apply force through synthetic tendons attached to the fingers. (Source: GM)
Yes, I guess it's easy to point to successes such as the Post-It Note and declare that 10% time (or 20% time in Google's Case) is a great idea. But I wonder how often those ideas never see the light of day.
Yes, the Post-It Notes is a great 3M story, Chuck. I didn't realize they had a formal policy of 10 percent exploratory work. Google has a similar policy, allowing employees to take 20 percent of their workweek for pet projects.
I think we may have discussed this previously, Rob, but I believe 3M actually had a 10% rule that allowed employees to use 10% of their time to explore their own new ideas. As I recall, the guy who invented Post-It Notes was doing it on his 10% time, so he could create little temporary sticky notes for his Sunday prayer book. That would seem to be time-well-spent for 3M.
This is quite an interesting product and it certainly would offer value in many areas aside from automotive manufacturing. The very interesting application that I can see is for it to be used to program a robot hand, used either with or without the rest of the industrial robot. It could be far more flexible than a standard gripper.
Ann, I see your point about shoes, but there might actually be a medical application that crosses over. We have a chiropractor friend who is constantly brainstorming ideas for his patients.He wants to invent shoes for the elderly that will self-adjust as they walk. While grasping is not something I would see as applicable, using tiny servo motors and the associated hardware in a similar fashion to apply force may be a way to manipulate the positioning of the foot in the shoe in a way that adjusts it for proper posture.
I'm with you and bdcst on trying to get those jar lids open!
Yes, Nancy, perhaps this is the beginning of a new era of innovation. The airline industry is developing composite materials that will be used elsewhere. Ford is developing new eco-materials for the interior of their vehicles.
Nancy, I suspect that worker injuries may have played a role in the decision to do this. (GM did not discuss this with me, however.) I can only imagine how many employess GM must have with those kinds of problems.
A recent survey conducted by CadSoft found that engineers involved in PCB design are increasingly targeting a variety of applications, with some of the most popular including control systems, open hardware, and robotics.