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Robotic glove tech developed for space station finds use on terra firma

by • July 5, 2016 • No Comments

A robotic glove that was originally created for use on the International Space Station (ISS) has been licensed for use back home, where it may be put to work helping making workers. Developed in partnership between General Motors (GM) and NASA, the RoboGlove is created to provide the user with extra gripping durablity.

The RoboGlove makes use of numerous sensors, tendons and actuators that are created to mimic the muscles, nerves and tendons of the human hand. It was created during a nine-year collaboration between GM and NASA, that included sending the Robonaut 2 (R2) into space in 2011. Technology of R2, that was required to be able-bodied to operate tools created for humans, was incorporated into the RoboGlove.

The glove showcases pressure sensors in the fingers, with synthetic tendons retracting when a gripping motion is detected, holding the hand in place to reducing strain.

During the createment of the RoboGlove, back in 2012, NASA spoke of how useful it can be in assisting users both in space and back home. The agency noted that while a factory worker, or an astronaut on a spacewalk, can have to exert 15-20 lbs (7-9 kg) of pressure when via a tool, the glove tech may lower that requirement to as little as 5-10 lbs (2.3-4.5 kg) of force.

With GM now eyeing up uses for the device back home, it may find a place in a number of settings, of making to health care. GM spent a little time testing out the current option of the glove in its plants, but has now licensed it out to Swedish medical tech company Bioservo Technologies for additional createment.

The company can work to refine the tech to fit varying hand sizes, while combining it with its own healthcare-focutilized servo glove innovation. Its initially plan is to create the grasp-assist device for industrial use, enabling workers to grip for extended periods of time without encountering muscle fatigue.

If all goes to plan, GM can be the initially company to use the robotic glove, with plans to test the device out in its factories. If it proves successful, it may be utilized for practically anything that requires aided or enhanced gripping capabilities, which include medical rehabilitation applications.

Sources: GM, NASA

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