Robotic third hand can blast through walls and collect fruit

Researchers from the University of Sherbrooke (Canada) have developed a robotic limb functionality which copies a human hand. Have a massage or lift over head rod with it until you succeed, but to break through the wall with a hammer or gently picking apples from the tree without problems. The system was developed in the framework of creating a universal set of extra limbs to exoskeletons of the future.

The arm has 3 degrees of freedom and uses a hydraulic drive, a magneto-rheological clutch and a hydrostatic transmission. To compensate for the power of hydraulics, the power unit is made in the side and delivers fluid through the tubes. The arm itself is mounted on the operator’s belt, near the center of mass of the body. Her work space is limited so not to accidentally hit a man in the face.

The weight of the arms 4 kg, it moves with the maximum efficient speed of 3.4 m/s – this corresponds approximately to the average person. Three-fingered manipulator can be replaced by another version, or to fix instead any tool weighing up to 5 kg. In the current version of the management is not the operator itself, and its remote counterpart with a joystick. This is the main minus – and plus the whole system.

As explained by the authors, there are two ways of transferring control to the third limb of the operator without restriction to his own hands. You should either create nanosensor able to read the mental commands, or put the module with the AI and sensors to assess the situation, to predict the actions of the operator and help him. This is too complex task, so the developers focused on the optimization of the hands, making it safe, efficient and easily managed.

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