In an age where AI robots are interviewing pop stars, making memes and going on dates with Will Smith, it comes as no surprise that researchers have been able to develop a robotic hand with all the capabilities of any five fingered human, doing regular human stuff like catching and crushing a cold one.
“ADEPT” — “Adaptively Driven via Elastomeric Passive Transitions” – is a 3D-printed robotic prosthetic hand with strength and speed abilities. It can do hand shakes, fist bumping and peace signs, with the sensory skills that enables it to catch balls and the strength to crush aluminium objects.
The 3D-printed technology used makes the hand softer than the formerly seen rigid robotics made out of metal. It is powered by six small electric motors inside of its palm that turn a spool of string connected to each finger, much like human muscle and tendons.
Kevin O’Brien, the lead author of the research published in Science Robotics, explained to Inverse the creation: “We initially designed (it) for use in prosthetics.” They hope that such robotic limbs will revolutionise the medical world and help amputee patients, and it could also contribute improvements to robots that already exist. This includes the robotic dog Spot Mini created by Boston Dynamics – yes, that creepy Black Mirror-esque creature that can open doors – who can use the designs of ADEPT to help improve its strength and versatility. It could provide better limbs for the world’s most famous AI, Sophia the Robot. O’Brien said: “the technology could be useful in any jointed robotic system (…) the possibilities are endless.”
As Motherboardreports, the most advanced robotic prosthetics have around a third of the strength and a fifth of the speed of a human hand. With more improvement, “It’s possible that you could see robots with our technology within (one or two) years.”