PORTLAND, Ore. — Ever try to get the lid off a jar with one hand, or open an envelope, or 1,000 other two-handed tasks? Well now you can, that is if you are wearing the new wrist-robot from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Still in the prototype stage, the wearable robot nevertheless offers a new paradigm in assistive robotics called "synergism."
"It is well known that the motion of the human hand is controlled by synergy -- which is the idea that groups of muscles are activated together by a single control signal," said MIT doctoral candidate Faye Wu in a video about her presentation this week at Robotics: "Science and Systems 2014" (July 22 through July 24 in Berkeley, Calif.) "We want to extend the synergy-based control to wearable robots."
To do so, the wrist-worn robot has a glove attached that measures the angle and orientation of each finger, then passes a control signal to the extra fingers to react synergistically. For instance, if a large object is being picked up, the normal fingers only need grasp its top while the longer robotic fingers grab its bottom portion.
For the full story, see EBN sister site EE Times.
— R. Colin Johnson is the Advanced Technology Editor of EE Times.