Throughout history, visions of the future included human-looking robots. These days we have plenty of robots, but they don’t look like people. They look like disembodied arms, cars, and over-sized hockey pucks concealing a vacuum cleaner. Of course there’s still demand for humanoid robots like Commander Data, but there are many challenges: eyes, legs, skin, and hands. A company known as Clone may have the solution for that last item. The Clone Hand is “the most human-level musculoskeletal hand in the world,” according to the company’s website.
The 0.75 kg hand and forearm offer 24 degrees of freedom and two hours of battery life. It sports 37 muscles and carbon fiber bones. The muscle fibers can cycle over 650,000 times. You can watch the hand in action in the video below.
There is a hydraulic pump that the company likens in size to a human heart. The hand can also sense for feedback purposes. If you want to build your own, you’ll have to figure it out yourself. The Clone Hand is proprietary, but it does show what is in the art of the possible. The company claims they cost under $3,000, but it isn’t clear if that’s their cost or a projected future retail price.
Of course, human hands aren’t always the perfect robot manipulator. But when you need a realistic hand, you really need it. We see a lot of attempts at realistic hands, and we have to say they are getting better.