The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and iRobot, have released a three-finger robotic hand that is able to pick up keys and 50-pound (22.7kg) weight, using tweezers.
The device is part of DARPA's Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM-H) program, which focuses on development of robust, low-cost and dexterous robotic hand hardware.
The ARM-H hand is developed by iRobot using 3D printing, custom plastic and rubber molding, and traditional machining technology. The 3-finger hand with a useable palm could replace the expensive claw-like hands currently used on robots and its manufacturing cost is as little as $3,000 per unit (in batches of 1,000 or more). The current robot hand can cost around $50,000 per unit.
The new hands can pick up small objects such as keys and cards, it also incorporate sufficient dexterity to enable manipulation of objects in their fingers when controlled by a skilled operator. In the video below you can see it picks up a basketball, a 50-pound object and keep working after being hit with a baseball bat.
"ARM seeks to enable autonomous manipulation systems to surpass the performance level of remote manipulation systems that are controlled directly by a human operator," says DARPA.
"The program will attempt to reach this goal by developing software and hardware that enables robots to autonomously grasp and manipulate objects in unstructured environments, with humans providing only high-level direction."
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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