At the Automate 2015 show in Chicago, SMAC Moving Coil Actuators introduced a prototype version of the world's first direct drive servo motor robotic finger, acknowledged as a technological breakthrough by a leading European technical university.
It is shown here operating a Samsung Galaxy touchscreen phone. SMAC expects an early 2016 release to be shortly followed by a robotic thumb and ultimately the first true functional robotic hand capable of reproducing work done by human hands.
The 25mm motor used in the front joint (PIP) is a servo "partial" motor and equipped with an SMAC rotary encoder with 15.5K counts per revolution. It achieves a high torque/diameter ratio due to the proprietary magnetic circuit design as well as the coil design. Intellectual property rights have been addressed.
Another - larger motor (35MM) acts as the 2nd joint (MCP FLex). It puts out a torque of 630 mNm and thus can exert a resultant force of 7N at the tip. Both motors move +/- 45 degrees - as the human joints do.
The 3rd motor operates as the first joint (MCP Abd). This is the joint that moves side to side. This motion is based on SMAC’s moving coil linear design and already meets the required parameters.
These motors have been integrated into a structure that allows them to operate and cover the same movement capability as a human’s finger. The structure weighs approximately 350 grams and is physically about 1.5 x larger than the average male finger.
The finger can contact a surface, recognize that fact, then push/pull, sweep, etc. at a programmable force and speed.
This major breakthrough in robotics will next be presented live to the public by company president, Ed Neff, at Hannover Messe in Germany (Hall 17 F52) April 14, 2015, and later in the year at the International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan.