This IIT-Madras robot can grab things like a human
Human hands have the dexterity to grab and handle all kinds of objects- light, heavy, or delicate. It is one of the many things that make us 'human', but apparently, robots are also catching up rapidly. Case in point: Grasp Man, an IIT-Madras robot that is said to have incredibly "good grasping, manipulation and locomotion abilities". Here's all about it.
Grasp Man, as the researchers describe, is a multimodal robotic system that replicates the dexterity of the human hand with high accuracy. It comes with a pair of graspers that adapt according to the structure and geometry of an object for grabbing it. The team says that these graspers allow the bot to hold and manipulate objects securely, just like the human hand.
The two graspers bundled with the system work in conjunction with a platform that powers the bot to move and adapt to different environments. However, at this stage, it is a prototype and is being evolved to handle objects with maximum effectiveness and minimum complexities. The development is being carried out at the Robotics Laboratory of IIT-Madras.
"The motivation behind this research," project lead Asokan Thondiyath says, "is to realize a robot with a minimalistic design that can overcome the need for task-specific robots that are capable of navigating and manipulating across different environments without increasing the system complexity."
The team hopes that further developments could make this bot smart and capable enough to work across different fields. They think that the machine could be employed in various industrial areas and handle tasks ranging from pipe inspection and search and rescue to activities involving climbing, holding, and assembling objects. The possibilities with a machine like this are just endless.
"The combination of locomotion and manipulation gives the robot interesting features such as circulation (holding an object and walking), non-anthropomorphic walking, and brachiation (arm swinging like Baboons)," Asokan said while detailing the current capabilities of their prototype.