Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a robotic extension to the human hand that could make common, everyday tasks easier. The extension, which is essentially two extra fingers, could be used to grasp, leaving the hand free to do other tasks. The extra fingers use sensors attached to the human hand to measure the position of the wearer's fingers, and an algorithm controls the output from the sensors to the robotic fingers. "If you have control and can communicate with them very well, you feel that they are just an extension of your body," says MIT professor Harry Asada.
The robotic fingers are on either side of the hand, located on the outside of the thumb and pinky finger. "This is a completely intuitive and natural way to move your robotic fingers," Asada says. "You do not need to command the robot, but simply move your fingers naturally. Then the robotic fingers react and assist your fingers."
Asada notes the device is still in the prototype stage, and the researchers hope to make it much smaller and foldable. "We could make this into a watch or a bracelet where the fingers pop up, and when the job is done, they come back into the watch," he says.
From BBC News
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