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Low-Cost Morphing Robotic Hands Could Revolutionize Blue-Collar Bionics

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the might-come-in-handy dept.

Biotech 21

malachiorion writes "Cornell, MIT and iRobot have all shown off so-called jamming manipulators: rubbery blobs that grip objects by deforming around them. But with the first commercially available version shipping to industrial and manufacturing customers, Cornell spinoff Empire Robotics has a new market in mind: Prosthetics. While impossibly expensive, neuro-controlled bionic hands continue to be a fantasy for most amputees, jamming manipulators could do the job. This article is about the merits of a low-tech, self-gripping stump, that could be powered by hooking up to an air compressor." This seems like a decent solution while we close in on a method to regrow lost limbs.

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Ooops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45958497)

They got me here with Lost-Cost Morphin...

then I saw it's a robot story.

Re:Ooops (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 10 months ago | (#45962333)

well, you could use the self-gripping stump to grip the doctors throat until he shoots some morphine into you...

Re:Ooops (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 10 months ago | (#45962431)

What were you expecting? Low-Cost Morphing Power Rangers? :P

two words. "dalek plunger" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45958665)

i cant be the only one to have this thought come to mind. Really, I can't be.

I remember the discovery just a few years back (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#45958831)

Basically put sand in a tough balloon, push it onto something so it deforms around it, and suck out the air -- boom, a near-rocklike custom-shape gripper.

Re:I remember the discovery just a few years back (1)

Spiridios (2406474) | about 10 months ago | (#45959127)

Basically put sand in a tough balloon, push it onto something so it deforms around it, and suck out the air -- boom, a near-rocklike custom-shape gripper.

Pretty much. There's a couple of links in TFA, but this video I found was pretty illustrative: Versaball [youtube.com]

Re:I remember the discovery just a few years back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45960771)

You could just use a hand shaped object, say a neoprene glove, filled with sand, and it would probably look better than most of the grippers on the market today anyway.

Re:I remember the discovery just a few years back (1)

malachiorion (1205130) | about 10 months ago | (#45965069)

Yeah, they unveiled the research back in 2010, when it was still a combined Cornell/U of Chicago/iRobot project. The parties sort of went their separate ways since. The news here, in theory, is that while iRobot is still in the experimental stage with its own jamming gripper work, Empire Robotics (comprised of some of those original Cornell researchers) have brought it to market, and are actively pursuing prosthetics next.

Like anything else, porn will lead the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45958865)

This sounds like a modern "stranger"

Prosthetics, what could go wrong? (1)

CHIT2ME (2667601) | about 10 months ago | (#45958877)

Hi, I'm Bob. Please shake the rubbery blob on the end of my stump.

Even combat has a silver lining. (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 10 months ago | (#45958935)

The United States is on the forefront of prosthetics innovation, yet another of the seemingly endless societal benefits of keeping a working military.

The secondary link in TFS highlights Michael Levin's work with tissue regeneration: interesting shit.

Re:Even combat has a silver lining. (1)

paxcoder (1222556) | about 10 months ago | (#45960259)

Next thing you'll say is that it's good to send people to war because it generates many limbless research subjects.
The reason why military is producing results is because it's being funded. But research is still just its byproduct.
A dedicated civilian team working to solve these problems can only yield better results.
On a semi-related note: Prosthetics are too expensive.

Re:Even combat has a silver lining. (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 10 months ago | (#45960615)

The United States is on the forefront of prosthetics innovation, yet another of the seemingly endless societal benefits of keeping a working military.

^^^^ keeping a steady stream of people with no limbs
YAY for war

Re:Even combat has a silver lining. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45962181)

To borrow a quote,

"Everybody must live, and what would become of the soldiers if their legs were never broken?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

The Powerpuff Girls (1)

tepples (727027) | about 10 months ago | (#45960301)

Oh, so that's how the Powerpuff Girls hold things [tvtropes.org] , and why Buttercup thought Professor Utonium's hands didn't work in that body switch episode ("Criss Cross Crisis" [wikia.com] ).

Blue-collar bionics... (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 10 months ago | (#45960499)

The Six Dollar Man?

good (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 10 months ago | (#45960643)

There is a desperate need for lower cost, more versatile prosthetics.

PopSci Dickheads. (1)

godel_56 (1287256) | about 10 months ago | (#45961423)

Those morons at Popular Science have geo-blocked the link, so the only way I can read it in Australia is via a proxy

proxy block (1)

alxtoth (914920) | about 10 months ago | (#45963411)

works from northern europe .

Re:PopSci Dickheads. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 10 months ago | (#45963671)

I just searched YT for "empire robotics", now YT has my metadata and the morons have nothing. I do the same when The Australian or The Age says I have read enough freebies for the months, just go elsewhere and all this crap will stop working for them

These so-called semantics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45962261)

so-called [princeton.edu] : (adj) alleged, so-called, supposed (doubtful or suspect) "these so-called experts are no help".

Read it until you understand it.

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