Roboticists from Spain’s University of Malaga (UMA) have developed a new robotic hand – Rolling Fingers – that can move objects in a single grasp in record time.
According to the main author of this study, professor Jesús M. Gómez, their prototype does away with the need to use two arms – the norm for many robotic applications. It is the first to use highly articulated adaptive fingers with a skin that is capable of rotating around its axis at different speeds.
The robotic hand’s finger can also perform tendon-driven adaptive grasping actions simultaneously.
As pointed out by Gómez, its capability to safely manipulate non-rigid objects in-hand, that is, without dropping the object, adds great potential to any robotic arm and simplifies the process considerably.
These characteristics make it optimum for moving fruit and vegetable products or for industrial applications such as piping installation.
‘Rolling Fingers’ was developed within the UMA R&D&I line ‘Robotics for physical human-robot interaction’, in collaboration with the Mechanical Engineering Department of the University College London.
According to Gómez, the prototype currently has three fingers, but he and his colleagues have already begun working on a four-finger prototype.
“With at least three fingers providing two active degrees of freedom (grasping and axial rotation) we can create robotic graspers that are capable of moving objects in a controlled way during a single grasp,” notes Gómez.
Likewise, as a next step, the UMA team are dedicating themselves to build a demo which should enable them to test it both at the industrial level and, in the long term, in human-robot interactions.
Image and content: University of Malaga/AlphaGalileo