Robot technology has come a long way in recent decades, with intelligent machines that master superhuman abilities that were once considered impossible. Robots are great at things people can not do, but giving machines the ability to imitate people rather than surpass us has been challenging in some very interesting ways.
One of the ways in which robots are cut short by comparison We flesh creatures are in their sense of touch. You can make a human-shaped hand from metal and plastic, but our flesh allows us to manipulate held objects in ways that robots often can not. Now, a new soft-robot concept could help change that, and to be honest, it looks kind of weird.
The robot "BionicSoftHand" is pneumatic, ie it works largely thanks to compressed air. The outer skin is soft and imitates human flesh, while the air-filled chambers that make up the fingers can grip and manipulate objects like a human hand.
These softer hands are also equipped with tactile sensors Let the software to be controlled perceive the touch. All the information the hand collects is quickly processed through a palm-embedded motherboard.
Machine learning algorithms teach the hand how to handle various objects through trial and error. It learns from its mistakes and can adapt itself to the manipulation of objects of different shapes over time. The company behind the scenes, Festo, shows some of its capabilities in a short demonstration video that may give you a nightmare.
The hand is only part of a larger robotic effort that Festo is currently undertaking. The company is also working on bionically soft "arms" that are able to lift significant weight, and Festo believes such systems are useful in applications where people need "a helping third hand".