Bebionic3 Cyborg Hand is Perfect for Pouring a Beer, Doing Almost Anything Else

Check out the impressive capabilities of Bebionic's latest cybernetic hand

2 min read
Bebionic3 Cyborg Hand is Perfect for Pouring a Beer, Doing Almost Anything Else

This is Nigel Ackland, and he's pouring himself a beer. With his robot hand.

Nigel's using one of the new bebionic3 robot hands, which were just released a month or two ago. The specs on this thing aren't quite going to bring you over to the dark side, but they're quite impressive:

  • Individual Motors in each finger allow you to move the hand and grip in a natural, coordinated way. The motors are positioned to optimize weight distribution, making the hand feel lighter and more comfortable.
  • Powerful microprocessors continuously monitor the position of each finger, giving you precise, reliable control over hand movements.
  • 14 Selectable grip patterns and hand positions enable you to perform a huge number of everyday activities with ease.
  • Proportional Speed Control gives you precision control over delicate tasks, so you can pick up an egg or hold a polystyrene cup as easily as crushing an empty can.
  • Bebalance software and wireless technology located within the bebionic3 myoelectric hand makes it easy to customize the functions to suit your preferences and lifestyle.
  • Auto grip means no more accidents, as bebionic3 automatically senses when a gripped item is slipping and adjusts the grip to secure it.
  • Durable construction and advanced materials makes bebionic3 strong enough to handle up to 45kg – so you can confidently use the hand to carry heavy objects, and push yourself up from a seated position.

You can make a robotic arm and hand system as fancy as you want, but it has to be comfortable, lightweight, and easy to control or nobody is going to use it. The bebionic3 weighs just 550 grams (for the record, your hand and forearm weighs about 2.3% of your body weight), and as you can see in the vid, with a little bit of practice it's controllable with muscle movements that are small and precise enough that the arm appears to just do what the user wants it to.

What we're really excited about is the day (and it's coming!) when things like this don't even make the news because it's going on all the time. And at some point, users of robotic prosthetics will find themselves being able to take advantage of more capabilities than you'd find in a biological arm, like increased strength, increased durability, a wrist that can rotate infinitely, or perhaps the addition of an extra finger or two that includes some interchangeable tooling. The short term focus, of course, should be on making it easier for people with disabilities to do what they want to do, but in the future of cybernetics there's the potential for a wide variety of improvements to individual humans, in the style of Deus Ex, Star Trek, Star Wars, iRobot, and a thousand other imagined sci-fi worlds become real.

[ bebionic ] via [ DV!CE ]

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How the U.S. Army Is Turning Robots Into Team Players

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Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman
LightGreen

“I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.”

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

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