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Robotics Hardware Science Technology

Robotic Hands Grip Without Fingers 105

sciencehabit writes "Physicists have designed a robotic hand that doesn't have fingers, yet can still serve drinks and draw pictures. The hand is a thin, rubber sack filled with coffee grains or small glass spheres. When it comes into contact with an object, a small pipe sucks air from the sack, causing it to contract and mold to the object's shape. As long as the gripper can fold about one-fourth of the object's surface, it can pick up just about any shape thrown in its path. The article includes a video of the hand in action."
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Robotic Hands Grip Without Fingers

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  • So thats how... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2010 @06:35PM (#34018850)

    The Daleks built an empire armed with a zap gun and a plunger...

  • Re:Cornelius (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2010 @06:41PM (#34018912)

    That's quite a neat idea for an universal gripping device. However, fingers do more than gripping, and I doubt this robotic hand would be able to be modified easily to do more than gripping. Though there is a possibility - a truly morphing hand that can assume almost any shape. Although I believe this is a long long way from now. A hand with fingers is capable of more than this one. Cool invention nevertheless.

  • Novel and cool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SoupGuru ( 723634 ) on Monday October 25, 2010 @06:53PM (#34019024)
    That's pretty freaking awesome.

    The real advances toward powered flight were when we stopped trying to imitate nature and go in a different direction.
  • Re:Cornelius (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2010 @06:54PM (#34019032)

    Maybe robots could have multiple hands -- this one on the left for gripping things, and one on the right with one or more fingers for various actuating tasks. Voila! Pump-action shotguns and robots, what could be better...

    Seriously, though, depends what you want your robot to do. If you're after some sort of domestic servant to clear the table, wash dishes (i.e. load dishes into that purpose-built dishwashing robot you already have), and maybe cook food, there's not a whole lot besides gripping going on. If you're after more technical work, fingers are likely just about as clumsy as this, and you'll just want a quick-disconnect joint so it can utilize a properly adapted soldering iron, impact wrench, or whatever directly as an end effector, with no slipping or fumbling possible. It's only when you get to the do-everything-people-do stage that the versatility of fingers becomes a clear benefit, and frankly it seems we're just as far from that on the software side as we are from a fully-configurable blob-hand in hardware.

  • Re:Cornelius (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Caerdwyn ( 829058 ) on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:56PM (#34019592) Journal

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine