MIT researchers create a robotic glove with two extra fingers (video)
How many fingers and thumbs do we really need? Well it seems like the researchers at MIT in Boston think the standard quota isn’t enough. Two extra large robotic fingers apparently provide a great improvement on millions of years of evolution.
Humans control their hands with groups of muscles that work without needing individual attention and these robotic fingers work in the same intuitive way. Granduate student Faye Wu explains that the scientists used an algorithm to achieve a similar “biomechanical synergy” with the rest of the human hand. So the two giant robot fingers react helpfully to reinforce your hand movements and intentions.
Harry Asada, Professor of Engineering in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, added to Wu’s explaination “You do not need to command the robot, but simply move your fingers naturally. Then the robotic fingers react and assist your fingers.” He said it was a completely intuitive process. He also likened the use of these robotic fingers to craftsmen who feel their tools are the extension of their bodies.
The device is worn around the wrist and contains sensors on the wrist and to see the positions of the user’s fingers. We are told that the robotic grasp can learn from the user using different ‘accents’ for different tasks – such as recognising when a tight or a gentle grip might be required. “After you’ve been using it for a while, it gets used to your pronunciation so it can tune to your particular accent,” explains Wu.
Robot fingers could be built into a watch strap
The Robot digits could be used for people who have weak hands, due to disease or old age, for example. Or it can be used as two hands in one, for example. The scientists forsee their robotic hand prototype being shrunk to about a third of its current size and made foldable and more portable. “We could make this into a watch or a bracelet where the fingers pop up, and when the job is done, they come back into the watch,” suggested Assada.
To see possible applications and how the device works please watch the embedded video!