MIT continues to advance the utility of robots, and researchers at the college’s Computer Science and AI Lab have announced they’ve made some strides in addressing one of many awkward challenges: robot hands.
That’s right – robot hands are getting a creepy makeover, but one that should make them far more functional.
A spokesperson for MIT recently told Engadget that the manipulation of thin, flexible objects has been a nearly impossible feat for a robot, which is why the traditional approach has used mechanical fixtures that move slowly and deliberately.
But MIT’s newest gripper uses two “fingers” that more resemble a human grip. Tactile sensors called “GelSight” use a rubber surround and cameras on a movable arm. One controller monitors the grip and another the hand’s pose, and their combined efforts are said to improve the way the robot hand is able to maintain a handle on wiring without it slipping through its fingers.
The benefits of the technology could hit consumers and businesses alike. Engadget says the grippers could find a use for home chores like folding laundry but also for “technical purposes” like separating or shaping wires.