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Robot Hand Can Play Darts And Shoot Hoops

  • Ghost32
  • uploaded: Feb 19, 2012
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Transcript by http://www.newsy.com

BY LOGAN TITTLE

Need a hand? Cornell can lend you one—or something like it.

Researchers at the university have made a mechanical man-hand capable of shooting hoops.

It's called "universal jamming." The hand is a balloon-like gripper filled with coffee grounds connected to an air compressor and vacuum. When it wants to pick something up, the vacuum switches on to harden the hand and grip an object. To drop an object, air is then pumped back into the hand to loosen the grip and even shoot out the object if needed.
(video source: CornellCCSL)

What's so different about this robo-arm? TIME explains.

"This robotic gripper was actually built to solve a problem that has confounded many robots in uncontrolled environments: how to best pick up objects when you have no idea how big the object will be or what it will be shaped like."

And while it might not have the desired digits for a back scratch, the researchers say the simple set up is still smart.

"Our approach is a sharp deviation from the human-inspired approach, and it proves to be simple, low cost, and still highly capable."

Capable enough to work with weapons. Red Orbit reports the arm could have a hand in the military.

"...specific applications for the robot hand could include military robotics and improvised explosive device (IED) defeat missions."

The Huffington Post notes the project was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and is even expected to take on household tasks in the future.

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