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Yale's Robot Hand Copies How Your Fingers Work to Improve Object Manipulation

By IEEE Spectrum

September 14, 2018

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Researchers in Yale University's Grasping & Manipulation, Rehabilitation Robotics, and Biomechanics (GRAB) Lab have built a robotic gripper that can turn friction on and off to facilitate manipulating objects with one hand.

The gripper’s two-finger design can perform in-hand manipulation at a significantly lower cost than other robotic hands.

The gripper's variable-friction fingers mimic the functionality of human fingers via hardware that turns friction on and off to alternate between gripping and sliding. The fingers can be passively switchable by using downward force on an elastically suspended element, or actively switchable using a servo.

The researchers are open sourcing the design files, in an effort to help others advance the broader goal of enabling robots to affordably and effectively perform real-world activities, especially in areas such as prosthetics.

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