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Biotech Medicine

Low-Cost Morphing Robotic Hands Could Revolutionize Blue-Collar Bionics 21

Posted by Soulskill
from the might-come-in-handy dept.
malachiorion writes "Cornell, MIT and iRobot have all shown off so-called jamming manipulators: rubbery blobs that grip objects by deforming around them. But with the first commercially available version shipping to industrial and manufacturing customers, Cornell spinoff Empire Robotics has a new market in mind: Prosthetics. While impossibly expensive, neuro-controlled bionic hands continue to be a fantasy for most amputees, jamming manipulators could do the job. This article is about the merits of a low-tech, self-gripping stump, that could be powered by hooking up to an air compressor." This seems like a decent solution while we close in on a method to regrow lost limbs.
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Low-Cost Morphing Robotic Hands Could Revolutionize Blue-Collar Bionics

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    i cant be the only one to have this thought come to mind. Really, I can't be.

  • Basically put sand in a tough balloon, push it onto something so it deforms around it, and suck out the air -- boom, a near-rocklike custom-shape gripper.

    • Basically put sand in a tough balloon, push it onto something so it deforms around it, and suck out the air -- boom, a near-rocklike custom-shape gripper.

      Pretty much. There's a couple of links in TFA, but this video I found was pretty illustrative: Versaball [youtube.com]

    • Yeah, they unveiled the research back in 2010, when it was still a combined Cornell/U of Chicago/iRobot project. The parties sort of went their separate ways since. The news here, in theory, is that while iRobot is still in the experimental stage with its own jamming gripper work, Empire Robotics (comprised of some of those original Cornell researchers) have brought it to market, and are actively pursuing prosthetics next.
  • The United States is on the forefront of prosthetics innovation, yet another of the seemingly endless societal benefits of keeping a working military.

    The secondary link in TFS highlights Michael Levin's work with tissue regeneration: interesting shit.

    • by paxcoder (1222556)

      Next thing you'll say is that it's good to send people to war because it generates many limbless research subjects.
      The reason why military is producing results is because it's being funded. But research is still just its byproduct.
      A dedicated civilian team working to solve these problems can only yield better results.
      On a semi-related note: Prosthetics are too expensive.

    • by citizenr (871508)

      The United States is on the forefront of prosthetics innovation, yet another of the seemingly endless societal benefits of keeping a working military.

      ^^^^ keeping a steady stream of people with no limbs
      YAY for war

  • Oh, so that's how the Powerpuff Girls hold things [tvtropes.org], and why Buttercup thought Professor Utonium's hands didn't work in that body switch episode ("Criss Cross Crisis" [wikia.com]).
  • The Six Dollar Man?

  • There is a desperate need for lower cost, more versatile prosthetics.

  • Those morons at Popular Science have geo-blocked the link, so the only way I can read it in Australia is via a proxy
    • works from northern europe .
    • I just searched YT for "empire robotics", now YT has my metadata and the morons have nothing. I do the same when The Australian or The Age says I have read enough freebies for the months, just go elsewhere and all this crap will stop working for them

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