Al, good question, but the company did not divulge price. You're right, it does look like some pretty sophisticated and high-quality technology. OTOH, this is designed for highly automated manufacturing lines and medical apps, so one could guess that it may be reasonably priced within those parameters.
Ann, Any idea if the cost of this technology will hold it back in terms of applications? It offers a great many benefits but the mechanical design alone seems to be quite complex along with integration of many actuators and sensors. Very interesting technology.
bobjengr, I've had friends and associates who've suffered from carpal tunnel and while none have made that dramatic a statement, I can believe the level of your friends' agony. The ExoHand is designed to make those repetitive tasks easier (or even possible) and to prevent conditions like carpal tunnel from developing in the first place.
Bob, I do agree with you that the Festo hand could be used in the application of alleviting carpal-tunnel syndrome in manufacturing. I can remember the number of carpal-tunnel cases announced weekly when I worked as a Plant Electrical Enginner for GM Auto plant in Ypsilanti,MI in the late 1980s. The material in the article was excellent.
TJ, You're right about the diversity of the applications that might not have commercial appeal. Although the smart bird, for example, reminds me of technology that might be used at Disney. Big market for motion control solutions in theme parks and entertainment venues
Excellent article and a fascinating subject.I work in an industry in which carpal-tunnel syndrome seems to be the norm and not the exception.I have friends who have undergone surgery to repair tendons damaged from the syndrome and some have told me there were times when the pain was so great they considered amputation.(I know that's hard to believe but there were more than a few.)This device could possibly provide some method to mitigate (and alleviate) pain associated with repetitive movement during assembly processes.I feel the overall concept is excellent and definitely worth pursuing.Festo has always been on the cutting edge relative to pneumatics so maybe they really have something here.
You're very correct in your observation about controlling pneumatic actuators midspan. I have accomplished this with a fair degree of accuracy both in the vertical plane & the horizontal plane. It's NOT easy, but with powerful processors & some due diligence, it can be done. At least I've done it with several designs, which have been working well for several years without any creep or change due to wearing components.
OLD_CURMUDGEON, thanks for your real-world input on the company's components. It's also worth noting that, aside from their products, another main focus for the company is their Bionic Learning Network, which is biomimicry R&D in cooperation with universities and other research entities.
California State University, Chico was the first school in California to offer an ABET-accredited degree program in mechatronic engineering. Now its California Mechatronics Center works with industry on machinery, robotics, and surveillance vehicles.
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