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.
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.
Isn't that true, Chuck? Making robotic movements fluid is still something that engineers need to work on. I saw this recent story that was quite interesting...about a robotic arm that creates delicate art: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1671977/watch-delicate-art-made-with-a-massive-robotic-arm#1
Last week, I visited Worcester Polytechnic Institute's robotics department. WPI was the firs university in the nation to offer a BS degree in robotics. See my first of two reports in Students Design Robots.
This report looks at the over all program. Tomorrow's will look at a specific project.
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