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.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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