We have to hand it to this team, their entry for the 2020 Hackaday Prize is a classic pincer maneuver. A team from [The University of Auckland] in New Zealand and [New Dexterity] is designing a couple of gloves for both rehabilitation and human augmentation. One style is a human-powered prosthetic for someone who has lost mobility in their hand. The other form uses soft robotics and Bluetooth control to move the thumb, fingers, and an extra thumb (!).
The human-powered exoskeleton places the user’s hand inside a cabled glove. When they are in place, they arch their shoulders and tighten an artificial tendon across their back, which pulls their hand close. To pull the fingers evenly, there is a differential box which ensures pressure goes where it is needed, naturally. Once they’ve gripped firmly, the cables stay locked, and they can relax their shoulders. Another big stretch and the cords relax.
In the soft-robotic model, a glove is covered in inflatable bladders. One set spreads the fingers, a vital physical therapy movement. Another bladder acts as a second thumb for keeping objects centered in the palm. A cable system draws the fingers closed like the previous glove, but to lock them they evacuate air from the bladders, so jamming layers retain their shape, like food in a vacuum bag.
We are excited to see what other handy inventions appear in this year’s Hackaday Prize, like the thumbMouse, or how about more assistive tech that uses hoverboards to help move people?
Continue reading “Assistive Gloves Come In Pairs”
Yale University brings us quite a treat with their Openhand Project.
If you’ve ever operated a robotic arm, you know that one of the most cumbersome parts is always the end effector. It will quickly make you realize what an amazing work of engineering the human hand really is, and what a poor intimation a simple open-close gripper ends up being.
[Yale] is working to bring tendon-driven robotic hands to the masses with an interesting technique of combining 3D printing and resin/urethane casting. Known as Hybrid Deposition Manufacturing (HDM), it allows the team to 3D print robotic fingers that also contain the mold for finger pads and joints, all built right into the 3D part. The tendon-driven fingers allow for a very simple design that are not only easy to make, but have a low parts count as well. Because of the human-like tendons, the fingers naturally curl around the object, distributing it’s force much more evenly and naturally, much like a human hand would. In the videos after the break, you can see the building process, as well as the hand in action.
Best news is that it’s all open source. They also include some python libraries so you can customize the CAD files fit your needs.
Continue reading “Openhand Combines 3D Printing With Urethane Casting”
Get your Terminator clichés ready, this robot hand reeks of Skynet. It is designed to function like the human hand, but the main goal is one of robustness. A lot of effort went into making sure this won’t break in the field. Instead of rigid gears, a system of tendons actuates each digit. The pulleys that control these are located in the forearm and each has a spring mechanism that helps to cushion shocks to the apparatus which might damage other grippers. It has bone-crushing power behind the 19 degrees of movement and, as you’ve already guessed, this comes at a pretty steep price tag; topping out around 100,000 Euros. It’s more complicated, and more expensive that jamming grippers, but it’s also far scarier. See for yourself in the silent movie after the break.
Continue reading “Robot Hand Has No Problem Giving You The Finger”