Looks like the movie ‘Iron Man’ inspired both National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and General Motors. (GM) NASA and GM are working together on a robotic glove that can help working with your hands much easily. Officially they call this gloves the ‘Human Grasp Assist Device.’ It is also known as ‘K-glove’ or ‘Robo-glove.’ By using a tool, Robo-glove reduces the amount of force while applied. It means, it decreases the risk of repetitive stress injuries. This glove is especially made for astronauts and engineers.
The contraption is a spin-off of two companies ‘Robonaut 2’ project. It was a 2 armed android torso with a camera-equipped head displayed at the International Space Station last year. Before you go further, check out the video of Robonaut 2 below.
Actuators are built into the fingers of the glove in order to provide gripping support for human fingers. Everything can be controlled through touch sensors which is in the fingertips. When the glove wearer grabs a tool, synthetic tendons automatically tighten actuators in the fingers to provide whatever they’re holding. It holds them at that position until the sensor is released. Without the glove an astronaut or assembly worker might need to exert 7-10 kilograms of force to grip a tool. The Robo-glove weighs about 2 pounds and can reduce the amount of force needed for a given job by around half. For example, it will reduce a force of 15 to 20 pounds down to a mere 5 to 10 pounds. It takes in the control electronics, the actuators and a small display for programming and diagnostics. The actuators are driven by an off-the-shelf lithium-ion power-tool battery.
Right now, the glove is in prototype stage. Present prototype weighs in at 1kg. The first prototype of the glove was built in March 2011. NASA and GM are currently working on a new prototype which will be smaller and lighter than the current prototype. Marty Linn, GM’s principal engineer of robotics said, “As a matter of fact, we have not yet started the trials. We want to make it lighter and use less power.”
NASA and GM want to finish the rest of the body as soon as possible and bring the Iron Man suit in reality. Do you think, this ‘Robo-glove’ will attract the astronauts and engineers? Write your comment in the box below.
Source : Press Release