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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Scientists at UC3M are participating in research on the robotic hand of the future

Carlos III University of Madrid’s (UC3M)
June 29, 2011

Researchers at Carlos III University of Madrid’s (UC3M) Robotics lab are participating in the international research project known as HANDLE. The objective of the project is to create a robotic hand that can reproduce the abilities and movements of a human hand in order to achieve the optimal manipulation of objects.

HANDLE is a large scale “Integrated Project” that is part of the Seventh European Framework Programme FP7; Spain is a participant in the project, whose goal is to reach an understanding of how humans manipulate objects in order to replicate its grasping and movement abilities in an artificial, anthropomorphic articulated hand, thus endowing it with greater autonomy and producing natural and effective movements. "In addition to the desired technological advances, we are working with basic aspects of multidisciplinary research in order to give the robotic hand system advanced perception capabilities, high level information control and elements of intelligence that would allow it to recognize objects and the context of actions", explains the head researcher on the UC3M team working on this project, Mohamed Abderrahim, of the Madrid university’s Department of Systems Engineering and Automation. His team has already gotten very good results, in his opinion, in the areas of visual perception, and cinematic and dynamic systems, which allow the system to recognize an object in its surroundings and pass the information on to the robotic hand’s planning and movement system.

The robotic hand that these researchers are working with is mostly made up of numerous high precision pieces of mechanized aluminum and plastic, as well as sensor and movement systems. In all, it has 20 actuators and can make 24 movements, the same as a human hand. Its size is also the same as that of an average adult male’s hand and it weighs approximately 4 kilograms. According to the partner in the project who manufactures the hand, the approximate cost of the version that is currently in development at UC3M comes to about 115,000 euros.
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