German industrial automation company Festo has successfully produced an extremely agile and nimble robotic hand that can grip much like a human hand.
Dubbed the Bionic Softhand, the robotic hand is able to pre-calculate all the movements, surfaces, gripping points and pressure needed before actually grasping an object. It’s a modular system with different “hands” that can be outfitted to lend itself to a variety of applications, including a typical industrial claw-like appendage, a claw with prongs made of a “softer” smart fabric and inflatable bladders, and a very human-like hand with five multi-jointed “fingers”.
Apart from its advanced AI, what differentiates the Bionic Softhand from traditional industrial robot hands is that it’s mostly made of a special dual-layered fabric, with inflatable bellows underneath. This allows for a more gentle, tactile grip, and the softer nature of the robot hand helps eliminate work-related injuries to human operators or workers on the production floor.
What makes the Bionic Softhand even more amazing is its AI, which allows the robot hand to grasp and manipulate objects with complete precision and autonomy. The unit works by “making mistakes” billions of times through its “digital twin”, which makes all the calculations at a dizzying speed and then performs the task without incident in real life, thanks to the combined power of AI and machine learning.
Its advanced AI should serve as a virtual guarantee there would be no more accidents, and the soft material and absence of any unyielding metal skeleton are also there as an inherent safety measure for any erring humans that might bump into it.
To know more about this impressive AI-enabled industrial implement, read the story here: http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2019/02/this-remarkably-agile-robot-hand-teaches-itself-how-to-handle-objects/