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Hand

The Digits system can detect hand movements without external infrastructure

As evidenced by the Kinect system, Microsoft has a serious dedication to making user interfaces that track the movement of its users. The company has shown a new technology, which it is calling Digits, that tracks hand movements through a device worn on a user's wrist. This means there are no gloves needed.  Read More

Emma's custom 'magic arms' were created using 3D printing technology

A two year old girl born with arthrogryposis, a congenital disease that left her unable to lift her own arms, although able to walk, has been given a new lease on life by a 3D printed robotic exoskeleton, enabling her to move freely for the very first time. The exoskeleton, made of a similar material to Lego, was manufactured using a Stratasys Dimension 3D printer so as to create a prosthetic light enough for young Emma to continue walking around freely.  Read More

The robotic hand developed by European researchers that uses artificial tendons consisting...

While the quest for robotic grippers with a light, yet firm touch has led to innovative approaches, such as the universal jamming gripper, it’s still hard to go past the four fingers and opposable thumb form factor honed by millions of years of evolution. While the technology is available to create a robotic hand that is both powerful and delicate, cramming it inside a compact arm is still difficult. But European researchers have done just that by using a novel string actuator to act as an artificial tendon.  Read More

Researchers are developing a system that would allow surgeons to control both computers an...

Although surgeons need to frequently review medical images and records during surgery, they’re also in the difficult position of not being able to touch non-sterile objects such as keyboards, computer mice or touchscreens. Stepping away from the operating table to check a computer also adds time to a procedure. Researchers from Indiana’s Purdue University are addressing this situation by developing gesture-recognition systems for computers, so that surgeons can navigate through and manipulate screen content simply by moving their hands in the air. The system could additionally be used with robotic scrub nurses, also being developed at Purdue, to let the devices know what instruments the surgeon wants handed to them.  Read More

The universal gripper writing with a pen (Image: John Amend, Cornell University)

While creating robotic grippers to pick up objects that are all the same shape and consistency is relatively easy, difficulties arise when trying to create one versatile enough to handle a wider variety of objects. The flexibility of the human hand has led many robotics researchers to borrow the familiar four finger and opposable thumb template that has served us so well, but getting the robotic hand to exert enough force to grip a variety of objects without breaking the more fragile ones is still a difficult task. For this reason a team of researchers has bypassed the traditional human hand and fingers design to create a versatile gripper using everyday coffee grounds and a latex party balloon.  Read More

The Amadeo Robotic Hand and Tibion Robotic Leg are helping to rehabilitate stroke victims

It's a long time since The Six Million Dollar Man graced our TV screens; indeed, many Gizmag readers may be too young to have heard of Steve Austin, the Bionic Man. Bionics and robotics have come a long way in the past few years, and while we're not yet creating bionic men and women, we can at least claim to make people "better, stronger, and faster." A robotic hand and bionic leg undergoing clinical trials at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center are two promising neurorehabilitation devices that are helping stroke survivors regain movement in affected limbs by rewiring neural pathways.  Read More

The bebionic myo-electric hand

Luke Skywalker/Steve Austin-like bionic hands might seem like something straight out of... well, science fiction, but they’re most definitely not. There are now actually several companies competing to sell hands that can perform complex, independent-fingered tasks, and that can even return a sense of touch to the amputee user. In the recent past, we’ve told you about several of these devices, including the iLimb, the SmartHand, and the CYBERHAND. Recently, British company RSLSteeper officially threw its hat (or glove?) into the ring, with the unveiling of its bebionic myo-electric hand.  Read More

Skinput gives you computer functionality literally at your fingertips

Always thought your skin was more than just a device to keep your insides tucked in neatly and out of harms’ way? Well, you were right. Chris Harrison has developed Skinput, a way in which your skin can become a touch screen device or your fingers buttons on a MP3 controller. Harrison says that as electronics get smaller and smaller they have become more adaptable to being worn on our bodies, but a couple of drawbacks are that the monitor and keypad/keyboard have to be big enough for us to operate the equipment. This can defeat the purpose of small devices but with the clever acoustics and impact sensing software, Harrison and his team can give your skin the same functionality as a keypad. Add a pico projector attached to an arm band, and your wrist becomes a touch screen.  Read More

The BarBra TM cycling windchill guard

As someone who has cycled in temperatures down to -30C (-22F), I can certainly attest to one thing: OK, yes, you have to be a bit crazy, but also, it’s really hard to keep your hands warm and dry. If you wear gloves, no matter how well-insulated they are, your fingers will eventually get cold. This is because they don’t have access to each other’s body heat, and just don’t generate enough on their own. Using thick mittens keeps your hands a lot warmer, but often to the point where they actually start to sweat. And manual dexterity with mitts? Imagine a lobster trying to ride a bike. Fortunately for us crazy people, Toronto cyclist Hamish Greenland has addressed this problem with an invention he calls the BarBra.  Read More

A laboratory mockup of a thin-screen LCD display with built-in optical sensors (Photo: Mat...

The gestural interface used by Tom Cruise in the movie Minority Report was based on work by MIT Media Lab’s Hiroshi Ishii, who has already commercialized similar large-scale gestural interface systems. However, such systems comprise many expensive cameras or require the user to wear tracking devices on their fingers. To develop a similar yet cost effective gestural interface system that is within reach of many more people other researchers at MIT have instead been working to develop screens with embedded optical sensors to track the movement of the user’s fingers that could quickly make touch screens seem outdated.  Read More

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