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MK-1 Robotic Arm Capable of Near-Human Dexterity, Dancing

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the looks-like-a-pixar-film dept.

Robotics 56

An anonymous reader writes "The MK-1 Robotic Arm from HDT Global comes from a DARPA sponsored project to create a highly advanced prosthetic limb. The disco dance moves shown at the beginning of this video show off the impressive dexterity of the modular servo units that comprise the MK-1 Robotic Arm." Internet rudeness alert: the (impressive) video starts autoplaying, with sound; you have been warned.

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56 comments

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First post! (-1, Flamebait)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37176884)

the robot arm is THIS fast!

Re:First post! (1)

durrr (1316311) | about 3 years ago | (#37177578)

Invert the joint and put a foot at the end. I want to see it kick ass.

Re:First post! (1)

Warwick Allison (209388) | about 3 years ago | (#37184800)

Actually, it's slow. 120 degrees per second according to the video (3 seconds for a complete revolution). That's not fast enough to wave, let alone kick.

Thanks to advancing technology (2)

lecheiron (2441744) | about 3 years ago | (#37176886)

robots can no long match my robot dance.

What about sinistrality? (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 3 years ago | (#37176898)

Does this arm also achieve sinistrality, or is it restricted to dexterity? :-)

Re:What about sinistrality? (1)

jamiesan (715069) | about 3 years ago | (#37177696)

Just means he's right handed.

Is having two right hands better than having two left feet?

Re:What about sinistrality? (1)

biek (1946790) | about 3 years ago | (#37178386)

Yes, if you like threesomes with twins

in other news, Cyberdine stock soars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37176968)

This is great, guys!

NeuroElectrical Interface (2)

sycodon (149926) | about 3 years ago | (#37176996)

One wonders where the state of the art is as far as neuro-electrical interconnections.

Re:NeuroElectrical Interface (1)

delinear (991444) | about 3 years ago | (#37177388)

I was wondering the same. The brief blurb on the page talks about the possible use in prosthetics, but unless you have a control mechanism capable of making use of the full range of something like this, you essentially just have a very expensive plastic arm. It's great that the technology is there when it's needed, I just don't think that will be for a while yet.

Re:NeuroElectrical Interface (2)

hitmark (640295) | about 3 years ago | (#37178940)

The latest that is available in the field is moving the nerves around so that what was once moving the arms and fingers now manipulate small muscles on the chest.

This is then mapped into the electronics.

Cost? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37177016)

I predict that this will cost six million dollars.

add goal; keeping original limbs attached? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37177034)

seems more like an excess heavy weapons problem, than a need for even more prosthetic s.

Re:add goal; keeping original limbs attached? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 3 years ago | (#37181368)

This is being touted as a way to work on bombs at a distance, thus keeping limbs attached.

Pretty cool (1)

Balthisar (649688) | about 3 years ago | (#37177136)

That's actually pretty cool. I'd like to pair it with an ABB, Kuka, or Fanuc controller and use it for something industrial, but then again, I'm an industrial nerd.

Re:Pretty cool (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 3 years ago | (#37177450)

Actually, to create a truly great dancing robot, you need to get one of the new-fangled model of the ABB, the ABBA.

Re:Pretty cool (1)

Balthisar (649688) | about 3 years ago | (#37177508)

How come we've never invented the smiley for ::groan:: ?

Re:Pretty cool (1)

nameer (706715) | about 3 years ago | (#37177688)

The video says that the servo control is handled on board the module. So, you would need a trajectory planner and interpolator, but not amplifiers or drives. There is no comment on how to set up the tuning (for good control, robots require non-linear control laws). I *think* the newest ABB robot controllers, with some undocumented options, can directly feed interpolation points out over CAN bus (accepted by these modules), so it might be possible.

Re:Pretty cool (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 3 years ago | (#37178134)

for good control, robots require non-linear control laws

No, because stability is too difficult to prove. You can achieve good control with classical control techniques.

Browser bug (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37177224)

>Internet rudeness alert: the (impressive) video starts autoplaying, with sound; you have been warned.
That's a browser bug. You'd think browser vendors would have learned their lesson by now, but no.

Re:Browser bug (1)

doti (966971) | about 3 years ago | (#37184822)

Fortunately there is a workaround [mozilla.org] .

Wonderful news! (1)

Quato (132194) | about 3 years ago | (#37177228)

With this new technology, a blond wig and a couple bags of silicone... future slashdotters will have dates to the prom!

Tonight's the night. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37177302)

And it's going to happen again, and again.

Wow (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 3 years ago | (#37177444)

A dancing robotic arm ! Usually humans need legs to dance

Dancing without legs (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37178916)

A dancing robotic arm ! Usually humans need legs to dance

And here's one of the exceptions [telegraph.co.uk] to your "usually".

Also Works Away From Humans? (1)

lemur3 (997863) | about 3 years ago | (#37177460)

How well does the MK-1 Robot Arm work away from humans?

I see that it has Near Human Dexterity..

I guess this means mars missions are out?

please inform.

Last time I checked (1)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | about 3 years ago | (#37177472)

Jax was MK2 not MK1....

Re:Last time I checked (1)

Kielistic (1273232) | about 3 years ago | (#37180192)

And he didn't have metal arms until MK3

I never asked for this (1)

caius112 (1385067) | about 3 years ago | (#37177596)

It is a time of great innovation

How much power does it take? (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | about 3 years ago | (#37177646)

I would hate to need to carry around a 50lb power pack to power a 2lb prosthetic arm.

On jobs and society (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | about 3 years ago | (#37178230)

Once tech like this becomes commoditized(20 years?), just like the pc and the cell phone did, it's going to put loads of people out of work. Devices like this will be used to do everything from home health aid, janitorial, picking fruit, and mining. Interesting how that timeline will coincide with a general downward trend in education in the U.S. We already see on the horizon that many "white collar" jobs(financial, creative, etc;) will be lost to software. I find it fascinating how much of a double-standard there is in the media regarding this subject. A constant clamoring about jobs, the unemployment rate, who brings jobs to whose district, etc;, yet not a whisper about things like this. Obviously tech like this will only proliferate, and eventually become "the norm", not only for use as prosthetics, but for a vast array of uses.

Re:On jobs and society (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | about 3 years ago | (#37178750)

It depends. If robots take up some of the menial labor, humans are afforded more time to work on other problems. The calculator might have replaced pure number crunchers, but that doesn't mean people don't practice math anymore. There are still physicist, mathematicians, and engineers. Odds are, if I robot assistant is developed, we'll have robot repair shops, programming centers, and robot insurance; while having fewer fruit pickers and maids. Humans will probably be replaced for certain tasks, but since we define society as a group of humans, we will probably never be rid of one another.

Can't cross the uncanny valley in a few steps... (1)

rocket rancher (447670) | about 3 years ago | (#37184062)

It depends. If robots take up some of the menial labor, humans are afforded more time to work on other problems. The calculator might have replaced pure number crunchers, but that doesn't mean people don't practice math anymore. There are still physicist, mathematicians, and engineers. Odds are, if I robot assistant is developed, we'll have robot repair shops, programming centers, and robot insurance; while having fewer fruit pickers and maids. Humans will probably be replaced for certain tasks, but since we define society as a group of humans, we will probably never be rid of one another.

I tend to agree with you about who will be displaced first, but I don't think we have to anticipate more widespread adoption of robots for a long, long time. We will probably have to cross the uncanny valley [wikipedia.org] in one quantum leap before society in general will accept robots in the roles of humans. As you suggest, roles that keep robots out of sight/out of mind will be about the only places robots can be effectively deployed until they are indistinguishable from us. Labor intensive tasks like agriculture and domestic maintenance, which you mentioned, would be where I would target my robotic R&D dollars right now. Human-level replacement prostheses are truly nice, but my personal uncanny valley is pretty steep, and pretty wide. I wouldn't want to shake hands with a prosthesis, if I knew before hand (not trying to be punny) it was artificial.

Re:Can't cross the uncanny valley in a few steps.. (1)

CayceeDee (1883844) | about 3 years ago | (#37189292)

A really amazing example of irrationality overwhelming rationality. You would refuse to shake hands with a person who has a prosthetic hand when you know they have a prosthetic hand simply because they have a prosthetic hand.

Re:On jobs and society (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37178968)

I too have been thinking about this.

I have been watching a lot of 'how its made'. I see huge factories where there are maybe a few dozen people moving a few things around. Making thousands of items an hour. It really is just a matter of time before it is all automated.

Menial jobs *will* be automated. There will be no 'get a job at mcdonalds' As they will have automated everything to make a perfect burger everytime and served in less than 2 mins.

Even people heavy companies such as foxcon are automating.

We are quickly going to end up with a society where a small group of people watch over a large array of automated machines. The rest of us?...

Get a good AI in the mix and even 'supervising/creating' is automated.

If these things happen... People think unemployment is bad now. Just wait...

Re:On jobs and society (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 3 years ago | (#37178998)

http://www.marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm [marshallbrain.com]

Two options then, a neo-luddite movement, as seen in AI and elsewhere, or bootstrapping a star trek like economy.

Re:On jobs and society (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37181012)

Thanks for that link, thoroughly enjoyed reading that :)

Re:On jobs and society (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 3 years ago | (#37183508)

It's a oldie, but it keeps on being relevant.

Re:On jobs and society (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 3 years ago | (#37182294)

You're right. Here is a 12 minute YouTube video I made that talks about a balance between five interwoven economies that shifts with cultural change and technological change:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vK-M_e0JoY [youtube.com]
"This video presents a simplified education model about socioeconomics and technological change. It discusses five interwoven economies (subsistence, gift, exchange, planned, and theft) and how the balance will shift with cultural changes and technological changes. It suggests that things like a basic income, better planning, improved subsistence, and an expanded gift economy can compensate in part for an exchange economy that is having problems. "

A PDF file of the presentation is here:
      http://www.pdfernhout.net/media/FiveInterwovenEconomies.pdf [pdfernhout.net]

Other related stuff by me:
    http://knol.google.com/k/beyond-a-jobless-recovery [google.com]

But right now, pretty much not one gets this. Mainstream economists are in denial. They just assume infinite demand (not limits from environmentalism, voluntary simplicity, or a law of diminishing or negative returns), that robots and AI and better design and voluntary social networks can't replace most paid human labor, that wealth be evenly distributed (not centralized to the owners of capital), that the mean on the bell curve on IQ will suddenly jump globally from 100 (remember, half below) to 200 to everyone can have great high technology creative jobs, and so on.

Some alternative economists have called for change, but are so far mostly ignored:
    http://www.responsiblefinance.ch/ [responsiblefinance.ch]

Anyway, I've put all my resources into understanding these issues and telling peopel about solutions to the point of my own family's economic collapse. But for the most part no one cares; well, I should really say, many people care do about the problem, or say they care, (especially when it effects them personally or someone they care about), but most people just want a solution that does not entail any substantial change to the status quo. It seems our current political and economic leadership would rather drive our society off a cliff to collapse rather than consider things like a basic income, expanded gift economy, better democratic resource based planning, promoting local subsistence via 3D printing and organic gardnening robots, and so on.

Anyway, there are solutions if we can find the collective social will to put them in place. Already the US averages about US$700 per month per citizen in payments for social security, schooling, unemployment, and disability. We could bring that up to US$1000 or even $2000 a month. And we could get rid of or shorten patents and copyrights and do other things to promote a gift economy. And so on. Someday we will probably do all those things or similar ones if we are to survive and thrive. It's just a question of how much suffering will happen before then.

But, as Martin Ford said, while military planners are planning for and funding the development of robots that can do tasks in unstructured battlefields, economists continue to assume robots and AI will never take over most work in a highly structured factory or office.

See also, by Marshall Brain:
    http://www.marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm [marshallbrain.com]

Rudeness Alert? (1)

IonOtter (629215) | about 3 years ago | (#37178258)

Annoying website: "I'm starting my annoying and intrusive process now!"

NoScript: *BITCHSLAP* "No you're not."

Re:Rudeness Alert? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37179332)

Huh? What are you talking about? I didn't see it do anything annoying or intrusive, and I don't have any blockers turned on (ad block, no script, flash block, etc). The only thing it did was start playing a video, which I hope your are not complaining about, since going there for the video was the entire purpose of the link (and should be obvious both from the text of the slashdot summary and the url itself).

Re:Rudeness Alert? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37180278)

I was thinking the same thing... Geez, people complain about EVERYTHING on the interwebs, and when there's not something to complain about, they make something up. Sigh...

Re:Rudeness Alert? (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#37182804)

opening half a dozen tabs in a spurt, then trying to find the one that started playing a video in the background, is annoying and intrusive

i'll start the video myself, thanks.

Re:Rudeness Alert? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37183850)

Half a dozen tabs?? What site did you go to?

http://www.engineeringtv.com/video/MK-1-Robotic-Arm-Capable-of-Nea

Tab free. Better than Pepsi Free.

Re:Rudeness Alert? (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#37184142)

I don't click a link then just go look at it. I find a few interesting things then go through the tabs I've opened. More efficient than waiting for loading from slashdotted sites.

Post-human arms (1)

ortholattice (175065) | about 3 years ago | (#37178426)

This is impressive and seems to have essentially reached a goal of emulating a human arm.

What really impressed me, though, was the modularity of the arm. Presumably this would allow configurations other than human-imitating arms. One could imagine post-human configurations - whether for prosthetic purposes, extending the capabilities of a normal human, or as a stand-alone robot for specialized tasks. E.g. (off the top of my head) would 7 fingers be more useful than 5, or perhaps an arm with two (or several) elbow joints, or auxilliary fingers along the arm, or a robot with 3 or 4 arms? Or is the human arm - "perfected" by evolution - the most effective configuration possible?

Re:Post-human arms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37179378)

If you look at their website, it's primarily used for Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) where it's not safe for humans to be...

Can be sent thru a pipe.... Re:Post-human arms (1)

j-stroy (640921) | about 3 years ago | (#37188318)

Looks like it could self assemble.. meaning several modules could be fit thru a fairly narrow diameter pipe in a snakelike configuration. I'm thinking either through a bore hole, or perhaps entering a building via the sewage system.. and reconfigure itself once situated. I mean really, how many people lock their toilets?

You get the picture.

I recognize that move! (1)

carcomp (1887830) | about 3 years ago | (#37178468)

Its doing the robot! HAR HAR HAR

First thought when seeing this arm: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37178732)

You could put a lot of armour around that thing and have some pretty decent terminator!

Human Chinese Workers are Scared (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37178952)

If I was a human chinese worker, I would be scared of these taking over my shitty job. Us fat americans could make a factory with these and not have to pay union wages and benefits. Three shifts, limited task lighting only, and automated forklifts tied with the savings in trans oceanic shipping should bring cost in line. I would love to see an MBA do a study on that. Toss in a couple of human managers for QA purpose, maybe not.

Its pretty nice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37179906)

Im part of the software team that is developing the MK2, (previously MK1), we showed the robot at AUVSI last week. I developed the low level driver communications, part of the control software for each joint, the network gateway and UI interfaces for the system using C#. I can give some vague details:

Some details about the dancing:
- 27 degrees of freedom, 120 deg/s per joint.
- Capable of generating a lot of torque within a small package (I dont think we have competitors that can currently match us)
- About 25 points with minimum jerk interpolation, had to move each joint by joint to get to the desired position:(
- We didn't have time to develop end point control or object avoidance for the demo at AUVSI, almost got socked in the face when developing the dance.
- The video is speed up by 4x, its actually much slower in the dance routine. The arms can go pretty fast, but the combined current draw of the whole system at the highest speeds will easily trip our power supply.
- This will be used primarily for bomb disposal.
- The hands were retrofitted from our MK1 system at the last moment, the system is modular enough to support interchanging all of its joints in any configuration.

The Prosthetic Limb:
- Mostly APL Higher Level Control Algorithms,
- About the weight of a human arm.
- The amount of complexity in the thumb alone is equivalent to the whole upper arm
- The system is designed to run off a battery pack in the arm itself, so no car battery strapped to the poor guy using this. At full speed, it will kill the battery within minutes, normal operation should yield several hours.
- the whole system feels realistic when its being controlled with the cyber glove at APL. One of the engineers was able to feed himself m&ms using a spoon.
- Its currently being tested on a monkey to develop better control algorithms

Force Feedback Servos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37180536)

What was really interesting was the servos that have force feedback built in. This means that it can bump into something and detect that before continuing along the way possibly hurting someone nearby. Standard servos do not have this feedback mechanism which is why most medium to large robots these days are dangerous to be around. Willow Garage's PR2 has arms that use a different approach but are designed to allow interaction with humans and other delicate materials.

Rude-blocked! (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#37182740)

NoScript kept it from playing until I clicked.

Browser add-ons are q00l.

Similar modular robot for NASA (1)

booradley_1977 (611387) | about 3 years ago | (#37190992)

NASA has funded a similar robot [traclabs.com] . This article shows the modularity of their robot better.
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