Researchers develop human hand-like robot manipulator capable of moving eggs

By Park Sae-jin Posted : January 22, 2020, 11:46 Updated : January 22, 2020, 11:46

[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- A human's hand-like robot manipulator developed by South Korean researchers makes delicate movements such as playing the piano and carrying an egg from a place to another.

Many industrial robots and human support robots have manipulators that can pick up objects and control other devices, but such manipulators are normally unsophisticated and cannot carry out delicate tasks like manipulating screwdrivers or moving fragile objects like eggs.

The manipulator, unveiled by the Korea Institute of Machinery & Materials (KIMM) on Wednesday, has three fingers and a thumb. It is connected to a robotic arm with 16 joints and can help people in their ordinary everyday tasks such as using a pair of scissors and carry slippery or fragile objects.

"We developed a robot hand that mimics the delicate movement of the human hand," KIMM researcher Do Hyum-min was quoted as saying. "We can use it to develop a platform for research on the finger-gripping algorithm for service robots."

Tactile sensors placed on fingertips, joints and the palm automatically analyze the optimal force required when they come in contact with an object, the institute said, adding that a robot hand weighing one kilogram (2.2 pounds) can lift an object weighing three kilograms. The modularized manipulator can be easily disassembled and reassembled at industrial sites to put together atypically-shaped objects.
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