Human-like dexterous hands for robots

Ref-Nr:

Robot hand holding lightbulb

Technology abstract

A UK SME has developed hands for robots that offer the same levels of dexterity and capability as the human hand. This can be deployed as the platform for a teleoperation system, or as the hardware to allow robots to perform dexterous manipulation autonomously. Development partners and market opportunities are sought.

Technology Description

The human-like robot hand uses 129 sensors to provide both force sensing and joint position sensing. The Hand is compact and can be easily integrated into a larger robotic system, while its 20 degrees of freedom (DoF) provide supreme flexibility and dexterity in almost any application area. The Hand can be controlled remotely using virtual reality tools, providing teleoperation with similar qualities to direct human intervention. The development team boasts a wealth of experience in developing robotic manipulators that spans 15 years.
Data (on force sensing, tactile sensing, temperature, and motor current and voltage) are provided to the user via high bandwidth EtherCAT interface. Optional features include an Air Muscle actuated version; choice of left- or right-handed versions; and a BioTactile Sensor for highly detailed sensing applications.

Innovations & Advantages

Key innovations

  • Integration of joint position sensing, force sensing, actuation, and control of the 20 DoF robot hand into a compact, mountable package
  • The hand is fully integrated with standard robot architecture (ROS)
  • Demonstration of the Hand as an end effector for tele-operation
  • Demonstration of the Hand as a manipulator for autonomous robotics

Further Information

Simulation
A virtual model of the Hand can be used to explore its capabilities and is available to download via: http://wiki.ros.org/shadow_robot/Tutorials
 
Open Platform
The user is able to modify both the control of the hand (e.g. position control algorithms) and the firmware within the Hand itself 

Current and Potential Domains of Application

Current domains
Used extensively in robotics research of automation and teleoperation
 
Potential domains
Nuclear decommissioning
Mining
Bomb disposal
Natural disaster rescues
Dexterous application in hazardous/remote environments