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Robotics Technology

Wearable Robot Adds Two Fingers To Your Hand 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the handy-inventions dept.
rtoz writes: Researchers at MIT have developed a robot that enhances the grasping motion of the human hand. This wrist-wearable robot adds two extra fingers that respond to movements in the wearer's hand. The robotic fingers are on either side of the hand — one outside the thumb, and the other outside the little finger. A control algorithm enables it to move in sync with the wearer's fingers to grasp objects of various shapes and sizes. With the assistance of these extra fingers, the user can grasp objects that are usually too difficult to pick up and manipulate with a single hand.

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Wearable Robot Adds Two Fingers To Your Hand

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  • by boristdog (133725) on Friday July 18, 2014 @12:44PM (#47483775)

    I see that the kids at MIT have read their Niven.

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday July 18, 2014 @12:51PM (#47483853) Homepage Journal

      I see that the kids at MIT have read their Niven.

      They should probably have read their Shirow, instead. To wit, it makes much more sense to add more arms than to do anything else. We already have two arms which are good at doing fine work. Adding more fingers to them will only make them more cumbersome. Instead, you add more arms to perform gross tasks, like holding things up for a long time, carrying or moving heavy things, and so on. These arms could be programmable to continue doing whatever you were doing, whether it be static, dynamic, or include aspects of both. For example, clamping two items together, operating a pump, or holding a camera steady, respectively.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        These arms could be programmable to continue doing whatever you were doing, whether it be static, dynamic, or include aspects of both. For example, clamping two items together, operating a pump, or holding a camera steady, respectively.

        That's a weird way to say masturbation.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          These arms could be programmable to continue doing whatever you were doing, whether it be static, dynamic, or include aspects of both. For example, clamping two items together, operating a pump, or holding a camera steady, respectively.

          That's a weird way to say masturbation.

          I said or respectively, not and simultaneously.

        • by Briareos (21163)

          These arms could be programmable to continue doing whatever you were doing, whether it be static, dynamic, or include aspects of both. For example, clamping two items together, operating a pump, or holding a camera steady, respectively.

          That's a weird way to say masturbation.

          Well, considering what Shirow has been up to lately it's probably the first thing that comes to mind...

      • by brianerst (549609)

        The GP was imprecise. The Gripping Hand of the Moties in the Niven/Pournelle CoDominium universe is a third arm/hand - it is used for strength and better grip. Two hands for detail/fine work, one for heavy lifting/gripping.

        It's also used in the sense of a "third way" between two sides of an argument - "on the one hand, on the other hand and on the gripping hand". The gripping hand argument is supposed to be the strongest one and a way around the weakness of the core conflict.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          It's also used in the sense of a "third way" between two sides of an argument - "on the one hand, on the other hand and on the gripping hand".

          Yes, I use it in that sense here on slashdot all the time, because I am a big ol' nerd. And amusingly, I have even contributed to a discussion titled "on the gripping hand" here on Slashdot.

          The Gripping Hand of the Moties in the Niven/Pournelle CoDominium universe is a third arm/hand - it is used for strength and better grip. Two hands for detail/fine work, one for heavy lifting/gripping.

          Right. And at least one Shirow suit (but several, IIRC) has big arms above the wearer's normal arms, which can be used to do stuff like throw cars. But the wearer's arms can also be used while the suit is worn, to do fine work that doesn't require massive arms that are themselves around the size of a human in body armor.

      • by rizole (666389)
        A bioenginnered prehensile tail. Just saying.
  • meh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by globaljustin (574257)

    this looks like good engineering work...really...I read TFA...but the *design* and *concept* are, to me, kind of dumb

    dumb...as in it really feels like they were spitballing ideas and said "hey, why not extra fingers?"

    IMHO this is an example of robotics continuing to spin its wheels...

    it's a *power* and *material science* game now...we have the connectivity with the brain now...we have stacks of ideas...who can't imagine all kinds of applications for robotics?

    now it's just about the power source and making i

  • I would prefer a third hand, with one more hand you can do much more than with just two additional fingers.

    • by Dishevel (1105119)

      I would prefer a third hand, with one more hand you can do much more than with just two additional fingers.

      I am sure you are correct but controlling an extra arm may not be as intuitive as the extra fingers. It looks to me as if the programming kinda makes the fingers work with your natural movements to give you a little more capability.

    • I would prefer a third hand, with one more hand you can do much more than with just two additional fingers.

      That's what she said.

    • Yes you can. Artists ahead of their time, Stelarc's 1980 Third Hand: http://people.ucsc.edu/~joahan... [ucsc.edu]

      • Some context from Stelarc's website [stelarc.org]:

        The hand was completed in 1980 in Yokohama. It was based on a prototype developed at Waseda University. It was constructed with the assistance of Imasen in Nagoya. It has been used in performances by the artist between 1980- 1998 in Japan, the USA, Europe and Australia. It has become the best- known and longest-used performance object for the artist. Originally it was designed as a semi- permanent attachment to the body, but because of skin irritation from electrode gel and the weight of the hand, support structure and the battery pack (approx. 2 kgms), it could not be worn continuously and thus it became a special performance device. The Third Hand has come to stand for a body of work that explored intimate interface of technology and prosthetic augmentation- not as a replacement but rather as an addition to the body. A prosthesis not as a sign of lack, but rather a symptom of excess. The Third Hand performances, with amplified body signals and sounds, have contributed to cyborg discourses on the body, included in more recent performances such as FRACTAL FLESH, PING BODY and PARASITE. See documentation of the performance postcards for a conceptual context.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Strumming on some super power chords!

  • Ok, so I read the snippet of the article and got one image in my mind, then when I went to the article and saw the picture... Let's just say less than impressive. Those aren't fingers those are sticks.

    Wake me when I can strap two extra tentacle like arms with actually human(ish) hands on the end of them to my back. Oh and they should be partially intelligent too.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Grasp objects [...] too difficult [use] with a single hand.

    You mean like today's smartphones?

  • The Yakuza (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ronin Developer (67677) on Friday July 18, 2014 @01:08PM (#47483997)

    are thrilled.

  • This new development will be quashed by Wall Street. There are to many fingers in the pie already.
    And as far as the slashdot reader is concerned, two extra fingers probably won't make much difference during masturbation (but that would have to be tested).
  • by cheese_boy (118027) on Friday July 18, 2014 @01:11PM (#47484029)

    You killed my father, prepare to die.
    Oh - wait, you've got 7 fingers and not 6?
    Oh, OK then, nevermind.

  • to me in my job. I could flip off more managers in one action.

    • by Cardoor (3488091)
      but you can only have one middle finger. if you are agnostic to it being a single-digit-flip, you can give a reverse-boy-scout-salute with the middle three and get a leg up
  • by Nkwe (604125)
    are thinking about having prehensile tails now.
  • Maybe it's a precursor to this awesomeness [1].
    [1] https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]

  • Ah, that explains how Doctor Octopus can control his mechanical arms. Perhaps that can give Spider-Man an added advantage.

    On a more serious note: I'm impressed they can control the extra fingers so naturally. I didn't think it'd be possible without interfacing directly with the nervous system.

  • Religious people claim we were designed by god That seems hard to believe when engineering improvements like this can be made so easily. Our skulls are too soft, our field of vision and range of motion is fairly limited. If the Great Engineer in the sky really did design human beings, it seems like he or she could have done a better job. We have features that give us a competitive advantage over other animals, nothing more.

    • Apparently you didn't watch the fine video.
      The bright young entrepreneurs at MIT had human fingers to examine as prior art, and what they came up with was "strap two sticks to your wrist to get in the way". The original design of our bodies is WAY better than what MIT is coming up with.

      Have you ever had a nasty cut, where you cut a little chunk out of yourself? I''ve done that a few times. I couldn't locate exactly where, because the missing chunks of flesh have been regenerated automatically. Try taking

  • All the examples look very contrived. They show specific tasks where the extra fingers would be useful. For me the extra fingers would probably be useful 1% of the time and get in the way 90% of the time.

  • .. two dildos, then two additional fingers, so may be it will be a great thing in the sex toy industry

  • I can see this being most useful for amputees that have only the use of one hand. The use case where one would normally use one hand to stabilize an object and the other to manipulate it would be very useful to this group of people.
  • Will be quite pleased. Or mortified.

    • by rubycodez (864176)

      I was waiting for someone to make "The Shocker" reference.....of course, the very inexperienced geek college kids who think that is cool may one day find out female anatomy doesn't make it possible to actually use the configuration of fingers as advertised.

      • C'mon, get limber! But, I would always advise in getting consent for those kinds of things, or the shocker might end up being the swift kick in the face you get for trying to surprise her.

        • by rubycodez (864176)

          protip: in matter of stimulation or penetration of the anus, no women will ever be displeased or shocked if instead of using fingers, you use your tongue

  • That's interesting (if a little clumsy). I wonder if a different arrangement of digits would work better.

    I'm thinking of placing an opposable thumb opposite the existing thumb (a mirror image of the existing thumb) and one on the base of the wrist pointing up which would curl up when the fingers curl down. Without modeling it, it would be hard to tell if the extra digits would get in the way too much, but they would greatly increase the ability to do certain types of grips.

    (And why does Firefox seem to thin

  • It could have four multiple helper arms to assist you. You could read a paper without using your arms. Just avoid having any tragic accidents while wearing them.

  • I have a child who has cerebral palsy and as a result has quite limited use of her right arm. Adding fingers to her left arm could maybe really benefit her.
  • Waiting for Eric Clapton to take this out on tour.
  • by duke_cheetah2003 (862933) on Friday July 18, 2014 @09:11PM (#47487025) Homepage

    What caught my eye most about this invention is how much closer it brings us to operating HEAVY machinery by just moving our hands and the machine responds to our movements.

    For me this brings exo-skeletal machines to mind as being much closer to reality, things like the loader from Aliens, the exo-combat skeletons in Matrix, etc. The applications of the tracking system exampled in the video are simply endless, from operating sci-fi constructs already mentioned, right down to more real machinery such as excavators, cranes and other construction machinery.

    Looking forward to seeing who merges this stuff with heavy machinery first. ^.^

  • Maybe now I can finally manage to play an F chord.

  • They can get back to me on this when it's got THREE extra fingers...and a tongue.

    ;-)

  • ... and we can count in hexadecimal.

All constants are variables.

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