Need A Hand? How About Two?

A helping hand goes a long way to accomplishing a task. Sometimes that comes in the form of a friend, and sometimes it’s a pair of robotic hands attached to your arm.

Italian startup [Youbionic] have developed this pair of 3D printed hands which aim to extend the user’s multi-tasking capacity. Strapped to the forearm and extending past the user’s natural hand, they are individually operated by flexing either the index or ring fingers. This motion is picked up by a pair of flex sensor strips — a sharp movement will close the fist, while a slower shift will close it halfway.

At present, the hands are limited in their use — they are fixed to the mounting plate and so are restricted to gripping tasks, but with a bit of practice could end up being quite handy. Check out the video of them in action after the break!

These helpful hands don’t come cheap — they  are 899 for the single hand, and 1799 to double that up. That said, there are cheaper options available, and some that can lend a really big hand too.

[via The Inquisitr]


22 thoughts on “Need A Hand? How About Two?

    1. That is dependent on the tasks you try to do together.
      Most people can walk and chew gum at the same time. :)
      I would guess that most people can listen to an ebook or music and perform a physical tasks like mopping a floor or weeding without significant impairment to either task.

  1. Please, can someone seriously explain me the use of such a thing?
    I read the article, but it’s just silly that someone just made a company based on that. The only good point that I see, is that the hand is quite stylish.

    1. I have to admit that I can’t think of any reason to have one slow, weak, less dextrous hand controlled by my own fast, relatively strong, incredibly dextrous hand. Certainly I can’t think why I’d need two. Maybe for those times when I’m walking in the dark and it’s raining, one hand for the umbrella, one for a torch.

  2. they are italian (as I am) so i say it in Italian: “questa e’ una stronzata!”
    for not italian readers: “this is a bullshit”.

    positive: nice to see, hands are well designed.
    negative: all the rest.

    to control extra hand independently from the existing ones, we need extra neuron area in the brain AND WE HAVE NOT! they just developed a stilish double nipper: on/off open/close, no more. they cannot control wrist’s motion, they cannot control the single 5 fingers of the fake hand, because as said, there are not enough motor control in our brain, we have a limitate DOF (Degree of freedom) and we must play with the, no more.
    HAve a look tho those people that for a DNA damage has 6 fingers in one hand: the extra fingers are not usable, because there are not the nerves, mussels and brain area dedicated to control it.

    I guess why my compatriots are so foolish so often. Sorry, dudes

    1. That these hands are bullshit is the ONLY thing you got right.

      “to control extra hand independently from the existing ones, we need extra neuron area in the brain AND WE HAVE NOT!”
      This just demonstrates a lack of understanding in just how the brain works. We are not Arduinos. A brain is not a microcontroler with a fixed number of I/O pins each permanently dedicated to specific fixed functions. Our brains are a very plastic cloud of neurons, each which simultaneously acts in a roll that is similar to a wire and a logic gate. It has been shown that when the brain is presented with new “peripherals” it will in time re-route it’s connections to accomidate them. This has been shown with monkeys controlling artificial limbs through brain implants, blind people ‘seeing’ through electrodes touching their tongues and no doubt many other experiments that have been performed.

      On a more macro scale it has also been shown that our brains maintain a mental ‘map’ of our body, it’s parts and their relative positions in space. The interesting thing about this is that when we use tools (think hammer, knife, screwdriver, etc…) and we develop skill with those tools our brains actually incorporate those tools into our mental body map! No doubt if one used these ‘hands’ long enough their own brains would incorporate them into their own body map.

      Also, your example of the people with the 6 fingered hands… this is not universally true. There have been people for whom all 12 fingers were fully functional. I even remember reading about one who used his extra digits to compose unique piano music that only he could play! It is true that most people with ‘extra’ digits do not have complete use of them. This is because they are not fully formed or the nerves simply do not connect or something like that. It is not because the brain is somehow lacking the ‘extra’ neurons! If the ‘extra’ fingers were attached to ‘extra’ tendons that were attached to ‘extra’ muscles that were connected into the local bundle of nerves the brain would naturally develop whatever it needs to control them.

      The true problems with these hands are that they do not move in relation to one another. To do two tasks the two tasks must be separated exactly the distance at which the hands are separated. Then there is the control interface. A single trigger to control each hand is a far bigger mechanical limitation than any imagined neurological one. no matter how the user’s brain adapts those hands only have on movment each, open/close because there is no way to tell the hand to do anything else.

      So.. anyway.. the important thing to take away from this… our brains are amazing and versatile! If you want to experiment with this kind of stuff then go for it! You can teach your brain to control whatever you can connect to it. Just put a bit more thought into how that is accomplished than just a simple trigger!

      If you need a starting point go check out (no I am not affiliated)

  3. Ok. I watched the video. I don’t see him performing a single task let alone multi-tasking. All he does is flex them a bit. Am I surprised? No.

    First, the hands are always in a fixed position relative to one another. To actually use them for two tasks those two tasks would have to be perfectly positioned relative to one another. It is far more likely that the user would end up trying to use one hand while the other is just getting in the way.

    Second, each hand is controlled by a single finger. I wanted to say that this means that each hand at maximum can only have the dexterity and degrees of control that the user possesses in a single finger. Except… actually it’s worse than that. Try moving one of your fingers through it’s entire range of motion without moving the other at all. It’s hard isn’t it. Now instead of holding one still try controlling the two fingers to precisely do separate things at the same time. Good luck with that.

    Now I wouldn’t be so critical if this was just some guy hacking around in his garage trying to build an interesting project. I would think it was a learning experience that might even result in knowledge that will be applied to something better later. But.. this is a commercial product? And it’s that expensive!! Nobody is going to use it beyond just to show it off a couple of times!

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