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Researchers created a highly anthropomorphic prosthetic hand

Researchers created a highly anthropomorphic prosthetic hand
A robotic hand that closely mimics the important biomechanics of the human hand

Researchers at the University of Washington have created a prosthetic hand that accurately mimics human manual dexterity, therefore perfectly suits as a robotic human limb. Scientists Zhe Xu and Emanuel Todorov 3D-printed polymeric bones by creating the mechanism of scanning a real human hand. The hand’s bones are moving by ligaments made from a strong plastic fiber, and a few motors control the movements of the tendons. This highly anthropomorphic robotic hand is controlled by a high-tech glove with built-in motion sensors. The total weight of the biomimetic robotic hand is less than 1 kg (942 grams) including the actuation system. Its proportions and movements are so accurate and that Zhe Xu and Emanuel Todorov believe that in the future amputees will receive a completely new prosthesis with the functionality of a real human hand! Besides the obvious application in telemanipulation in which human operator can directly transfer his/her own dexterity to the robotic hand, it could also help medical and biology research in terms of physically preserving personal biomechanical data and serving as the 3D scaffolds for limb regeneration research.

A highly Biomimetic Anthropomorphic Robotic Hand

Scientists have designed and prototyped a highly biomimetic anthropomorphic robotic hand that closely mimics the important biomechanics of the human hand with artificial joints and ligaments. During this process, they first identified two crucial constraints that have been limiting the development of anthropomorphic robotic hands: the lack of properly translated engineering knowledge of the human hand and the restrictions caused by conventional mechanical joints. And then scientists reinterpreted and detailed the ways to replicate important biomechanical advantages of the human hand with the language and methods that roboticists can easily understand.

Zhe Xu and Emanuel Todorov experimentally demonstrated that their proposed robotic hand design has good repeatability in finger motions and can be teleoperated to grasp and manipulate a wide selection of daily objects within the fingertip workspaces under current design. In future work, scientists are planning to incorporate biomimetic wrist design and already-developed fingertip sensors into robotic hand so that they can further improve its telemanipulation performance.

A highly anthropomorphic prosthetic hand


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