What do you get when you mix rigid and elastic polymers with a laser-scanning 3D printing technique? If you are researchers at ETH Zurich, you get robot hands with bones, ligaments, and tendons. In conjunction with a startup company, the process uses both fast-curing and slow-curing plastics, allowing parts with different structural properties to print. Of course, you could always assemble things from multiple kinds of plastics, but this new technique — vision-controlled jetting — allows the hands to print as one part. You can read the full paper from Nature or see the video below.
Wax with a low melting point encases the entire structure, acting as a support. The researchers remove the wax after the plastics cure.
Continue reading “Robot Hand Has Good Bones”
[Ivan Miranda] isn’t afraid to dream big, and hopes to soon build a 3D printed giant robot he can ride around on. As the first step towards that goal, he’s built a giant printed hand big enough to hold a basketball.
The hand has fingers with several jointed segments, inspired by those wooden hand models sold as home decor at IKEA. The fingers are controlled via a toothed belt system, with two beefy 11 kg servos responsible for flexing each individual finger joint. A third 25 kg servo flexes the finger as a whole. [Ivan] does a good job of hiding the mechanics and wiring inside the structure of the hand itself, making an attractive robot appendage.
As with many such projects, control is where things get actually difficult. It’s one thing to make a robot hand flex its fingers in and out, and another thing to make it move in a useful, coordinated fashion. Regardless, [Ivan] is able to have the hand grip various objects, in part due to the usefulness of the hand’s opposable thumb. Future plans involve adding positional feedback to improve the finesse of the control system.
Building a good robot hand is no mean feat, and it remains one of the challenges behind building capable humanoid robots. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Big 3D Printed Hand Uses Big Servos, Naturally”
Most modern computer games have a clearly-defined end, but many classics like Pac-man and Duck Hunt can go on indefinitely, limited only by technical constraints such as memory size. One would think that the classic electronic memory game Simon should fall into that category too, but with most humans struggling even to reach level 20 it’s hard to be sure. [Michael Schubart] was determined to find out if there was in fact an end to the latest incarnation of Simon and built a robot to help him in his quest.
The Simon Air, as the newest version is known, uses motion sensors to detect hand movements, enabling no-touch gameplay. [Michael] therefore made a system with servo-actuated silicone hands that slap the motion sensors. The tone sequence generated by the game is detected by light-dependent resistors that sense which of the segments lights up; a Raspberry Pi keeps track of the sequence and replays it by driving the servos.
We won’t spoil the ending, but [Michael] did find an answer to his question. An earlier version of the game was already examined with the help of an Arduino, although it apparently wasn’t fast enough to drive the game to its limits. If you think Simon can be improved you can always roll your own, whether from scratch or by hacking an existing toy.
Continue reading “Silicone-Slapping Servos Solve Simon Says“
Wikipedia says “The uncanny valley hypothesis predicts that an entity appearing almost human will risk eliciting cold, eerie feelings in viewers.” And yes, we have to admit that as incredible as it is, seeing [Automaton Robotics]’ hand and forearm move in almost human fashion is a bit on the disturbing side. Don’t just take our word for it, let yourself be fascinated and weirded out by the video below the break.
While the creators of the Artificial Muscles Robotic Arm are fairly quiet about how it works, perusing through the [Automaton Robotics] YouTube Channel does shed some light on the matter. The arm and hand’s motion is made possible by artificial muscles which themselves are brought to life by water pressurized to 130 PSI (9 bar). The muscles themselves appear to be a watertight fiber weave, but these details are not provided. Bladders inside a flexible steel mesh, like finger traps?
[Automaton Robotics]’ aim is to eventually create a humanoid robot using their artificial muscle technology. The demonstration shown is very impressive, as the hand has the strength to lift a 7 kg (15.6 lb) dumbbell even though some of its strongest artificial muscles have not yet been installed.
A few years ago we ran a piece on Artificial Muscles which mentions pneumatic artificial muscles that contract when air pressure is applied, and it appears that [Automaton Robotics] has employed the same method with water instead. What are your thoughts? Please let us know in the comments below. Also, thanks to [The Kilted Swede] for this great tip! Be sure to send in your own tips, too!
Continue reading “Taking A Stroll Down Uncanny Valley With The Artificial Muscle Robotic Arm”
It isn’t uncommon to see a robot hand-controlled with a glove to mimic a user’s motion. [All Parts Combined] has a different method. Using a Leap Motion controller, he can record hand motions with no glove and then play them back to the robot hand at will. You can see the project in the video, below.
The project seems straightforward enough, but apparently, the Leap documentation isn’t the best. Since he worked it out, though, you might find the code useful.
An 8266 runs everything, although you could probably get by with less. The Leap provides more data than the hand has servos, so there was a bit of algorithm development.
We picked up a few tips about building flexible fingers using heated vinyl tubing. Never know when that’s going to come in handy — no pun intended. The cardboard construction isn’t going to be pretty, but a glove cover works well. You could probably 3D print something, too.
The Unity app will drive the hand live or can playback one of the five recorded routines. You can see how the record and playback work on the video.
This reminded us of another robot hand project, this one 3D printed. We’ve seen more traditional robot arms moving with a Leap before, too. Continue reading “Leap Motion Controls Hands With No Glove”
[Miller] wanted to practice a bit with some wireless modules and wound up creating a robotic hand he could teleoperate with the help of a haptic glove. It lookes highly reproducible, as you can see the video, below the break.
The glove uses an Arduino’s analog to digital converter to read some flex sensors. Commercial flex sensors are pretty expensive, so he experimented with some homemade sensors. The ones with tin foil and graphite didn’t work well, but using some bent can metal worked better despite not having good resolution.
Continue reading “Haptic Glove Controls Robot Hand Wirelessly”
It is an old movie trope: a robot grips something and accidentally crushes it with its super robot strength. A little feedback goes a long way, of course, but futuristic robots may also want to employ soft grippers. [Jessica] shows how to build soft grippers made of several cast fingers. The fingers are cast from Ecoflex 00-50, and use air pressure.
A 3D-printed mold is used to cast the Ecoflex fingers, which are only workable for 18 minutes after mixing, so it’s necessary to work fast and have everything ready before you start.
Continue reading “[Jessica] Is Soft On Robot Grippers”