By Kalwinder Kaur
The first-ever five-fingered robotic hand similar to that of a human has been developed by EU-funded research team. This new innovation is capable of mimicking the action and movement of human hands.
Handy technologies for dextrous robots
Prof Siciliano, the coordinator of the Dexmart project has directed a robotic research team that has previously developed anthropomorphic five-fingered robotic hand that demonstrated picking up of eggs, grasping a pen from another individual, or turning a credit card around. However, no robotics lab has thus far succeeded in creating the right-sized human hands.
The twisted strings are created from strong polymer, through which the prototype hand can carry a 5-kg load by 30 mm within a split second. The small electric motors within the forearm provide the right dimensions to the hand.
Following observations, robots can achieve better performance, said Prof Siciliano. Based on advanced image processing technology, a collaborative research team carefully scrutinized the movements of human hand. Visual markers were attached on to a special sensorised glove worn on the researchers’ hands, the manipulation tasks being performed were then captured on video. The movements on each marker were observed using the image processing algorithms. The resulting data enabled programming the handling and manipulation methods.
A control system was designed by the Naples team. Here, optoelectronic sensors on the hand provided the input including grasp pressure; the finger movements can be intended and programmed. These sensors were developed by Salvatore Pirozzi and other researchers who have filed a European patent.
In December 2011, a prototype hand and two fully sensorised fingers were successfully demonstrated for four days at the RobotVille. Researchers are investigating ways to create fully functional hands that can be initially used for robotics studies.