What Could You Do With 7 Fingers?

7 finger robotic glove

A strange thought yes, but MIT researchers think an extra two digits could really make a difference in many people’s lives. And as it turns out, having an extra robotic grasp allows you to do quite a few things single handed.

The extra two fingers provide three degrees of freedom each, and are mounted off the user’s wrist. A series of position recording sensors attached to the glove provide feedback to the system in order to control the fingers naturally, just by using your hand normally.

They taught the algorithm that controls the fingers by trying to pick up different (large) items using the hand and manually positioning the fingers. What they discovered is almost every grasp could be demonstrated as a combination of only 2-3 grip patterns. 

The extra augmentation allows [Faye Wu], a graduate student working on the project, to peel a banana one handed, pick up large and bulky objects easily, pick up and stir a coffee with one hand, or even open a 2L pop bottle — again — with only one hand.

“This is a prototype, but we can shrink it down to one-third its size, and make it foldable,” Asada says. “We could make this into a watch or a bracelet where the fingers pop up, and when the job is done, they come back into the watch. Wearable robots are a way to bring the robot closer to our daily life.”

What do you think? What could you do with an extra couple digits?

[via arstechnica]

35 thoughts on “What Could You Do With 7 Fingers?

  1. I can use my pinky and ring fingers as a pair for holding part. Very useful to be able to solder wires or parts together while my other hand holds the soldering iron.

      1. And I find myself holding multimeter probes like chopsticks, to probe two pins of a single connector, or one pin from each end of a cable, using my other hand to hold the ends in position.

        There’s definitely room for improvement on the dexterity side of things, we humans are limited and I’m fascinated that it took so long for someone to ask this question.

        I suppose once you’ve got the control scheme nailed down, the end-effectors could be anything:

        http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/?p=216

  2. Seems like a very poor replacement for your other hand, so unless you’ve lost the use of one hand, I can’t see this being all that useful.

    Of course, turn those big clunky sticks into slick prehensile tentacles (and way more then just two), and they might have something useful.

  3. I am very disappointed in Hackaday users.

    I had come to think that the people on Hackaday were above these kinds of puerile, racist comments.

    I thought you were all better than this; clearly I was wrong.

    1. Somehow we’ll all have to learn to live with your disappointment.

      I don’t really see how “racist” applies to the comments in this thread. I think you’re projecting your thoughts on other peoples generic comments.

    2. Maybe you will recall that pornography was the biggest sales driver of VHS technology for many years

      Are you aware that pornography drives the development of more efficient web servers?

      “racist” !!! Gosh those darned humans and their need to reproduce, how crude of them.

  4. If someone is born with extra digits most of the time they get removed… also I can do all the things in the video with one hand anyway just leave the cup on the counter, stir then pick up. :)

  5. I think she nailed in at around 2:17 or so when she mentioned handicapped people. For single amputees (i.e., someone who’s lost a hand or partial or whole arm) this could be a great help in the near future because, I think, it should be easier to augment a healthy hand than it is to restore function to an amputated one.

    1. And it probably help a lot of people regain their independence since they won’t have to rely on help from others. Help their self esteem too.

    2. I don’t see this iteration as all that useful, if you have larger hands and some dexterity you can do all of her tasks single handed.
      The research into control algorithms and biomechanics is the far more beneficial aspect of this project. Though as her adviser pointed out: We just starting to look at the possibilities.

  6. at last. a way to hold a bolt, part, washer, screwdriver… without needing a third hand or be descended from an octopus…

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