Robotic hand with human-like capabilities can even play the piano

It is undeniable that artificial intelligence will be used in a wide range of places in the future, and so will the intelligent mechanical equipment. A team of researchers at the Korea Institute of Machinery & Materials has developed a robotic hand that resembles a human hand, is capable of playing the piano, moving eggs, serving a glass of water, and using scissors to cut papers.

The design allows the robotic hand can be easily mounted on a variety of robotic arms and has the ability to handle objects that are three times heavier than its own weight, so they call it the “world’s strongest.”

Tactile Sensor-integrated Robot Hand. Credit: Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM)
Tactile Sensor-integrated Robot Hand. Credit: Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM)

The robot hand consists of four fingers and sixteen joints. Each finger is made up of three joints, just like a human finger, so the finger movements are flexible, and the grip can be changed freely depending on the object. The hand uses a total of 12 motors to move in various directions. This allows the robotic hand, weighing just 1 kg, to lift objects that weigh more than 3 kg.

According to the researchers, the developed robot hand is “lighter and stronger than commercially available robot hands.”

The research team mounted two types of force sensors on the fingertips, fingers, and the palm, that can detect the contact with an object. The sensors, with a diameter of 15 mm and a weight of less than 5 g, can measure the magnitude and direction of force detected at the fingertip when the robot hand comes into contact with an object.

The robot hand was developed to handle various objects including the tools in everyday life by mimicking the delicate motion of a human hand,” said Dr. Hyunmin Do in a release. “It is also expected to be used as a research platform for studying the grasping algorithm of robot hand and manipulation intelligence.”

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