Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Whether grasping Easter eggs or glass bottles – this robotic hand uses tact

30.03.2012
It may be difficult to imagine, but pouring juice into a plastic cup can be a great challenge to a robot. While one hand holds the glass bottle firmly, the other one must gently grasp the cup.
Researchers at Saarland University together with associates in Bologna and Naples have developed a robotic hand that can accomplish both tasks with ease and yet including the actuators is scarcely larger than a human arm. This was made possible by a novel string actuator, making use of small electric motors to twist strings. The robotic hand is thus powerful yet delicate and could one day be deployed as a helper around the house or in catastrophic scenarios.

„We wanted to impart our robotic hand with a broad spectrum of human traits. Its artificial muscles should be able to deliver enormous forces by simple and compact means“, explains Chris May, scientist at Saarland University’s Laboratory of Actuation Technology. The robotic hand was recently presented during a meeting at the Forschungszentrum Informatik in Karlsruhe. It is an example of some of the new steps taken in robotic research within the scope of the European project DEXMART. Over the past four years international scientists developed various concepts, especially focussed on increasing the versatility with which two-arm robots can be implemented. The European Union sponsored the research consortium to the sum of 6.3 million Euros.
„When robots help around the house or should save people from a burning building, they need to have hands which can grasp with strength but at the same time gently“, explains Hartmut Janocha, Professor of Process Automation at Saarland University. The challenge lies in trying to make the necessary technology fit within the robotic arm such that it does not differ significantly from a human arm in terms of size and form. „We came up with a simple, yet extremely effective idea: using strings that are twisted by small, high-speed motors, we are able to exert high tensile forces within a compact space“, explains mechatronic researcher May. The sensorised and controlled robotic hand is able to touch diverse objects, to grasp and lift them and place them gently in a new position. Chris May demonstrated this in Karlsruhe with a delicate Easter egg and a heavy glass bottle.

Extremely strong polymer strings enable the Saarbrücken researchers to lift a five kilogram load by 30 mm within a split second, making use of a small electric motor and a 20 cm long string. „Each robotic finger, which like a human finger is comprised of three segments, can be controlled precisely by means of the individual tendons “, describes Chris May the novel miniature actuator. The mini electric motors run at high speed and a small torque on the order of five Newton-millimetres. „The capability of the robotic hand is so near to that of humans that the vision of robots as personal assistants in the household, in the operating room as well as in industrial settings is becoming ever more realistic. We presume that the combination of small electric motors with twisted string is interesting for other applications as well“, the researcher reckons.
Complementing the topics of robotic hand design, actuation and sensor development, the other DEXMART research teams addressed topics of programming by demonstration, object grasping and manipulation as well as human-robot interaction. A total of eight universities and research institutes in Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain participated in the European funded research initiative.

Please address questions to:

Chris May
Lehrstuhl für Antriebstechnik (LAT)
Universität des Saarlandes
Tel.: 0681 / 302-71690
may@lat.uni-saarland.de

Notice for radio journalists: It is possible to hold telephone interviews with the scientists at Saarland University in studio quality by means of the ISDN audio codec. Please contact the press office (+49 681 / 302-3610) to express interest in holding interviews.

Chris May | Universität des Saarlandes
Further information:
http://www.dexmart.eu/
http://www.lat.uni-saarland.de/

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Researchers take next step toward fusion energy
16.11.2017 | Texas A&M University

nachricht Desert solar to fuel centuries of air travel
16.11.2017 | SolarPACES

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>