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Newly developed ‘Gentle Bot’ is closer to real human hand
Researchers at Cornell University have developed a soft robotic hand that is able to not only touch delicate and fragile items but also to sense the shape and texture of things that it comes into contact with.
Lead researcher Huichan Zhao, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering at Cornell University, said their newly developed dubbed “Gentle Bot” is closer to a real human hand.
Speaking on the topic, Zhao added, “Our human hand is not functioning using motors to drive each of the joints; our human hand is soft with a lot of sensors ... on the surface and inside the hand. Soft robotics provides a chance to make a soft hand that is more close to a human hand.”
To understand a soft robotic hand, once can imagine a human hand-shaped balloon with light signals running via bendable waveguides, pipes carrying waves inside the fingers. The waveguides bend whenever the hand touches something, resulting into distortion of the light signals. That distortion provides the robot with data on whatever the hand is touching.
Such a soft robotic hand is big leap forward in the field of soft robotics, a sort of technology that is already in use in warehouses to handle things like food products. Now, it also holds promise for the development of better prosthetics and robots that would be able to interact directly with people.
The researchers detailed the “Gentle Bot” in an article published in the most recent edition of journal Science Robotics.