Powerful human-like hands create safer human-robotics interactions

Image by Kvistholt Photography

JUL. 20, 2020

A team of engineers designed and developed a novel humanoid hand that may be able to help human-robotic interactions.

Need a robot with a soft touch? A team of engineers from Michigan State University built and produced a novel humanoid hand that could be of assistance. Robots are often used in industrial settings for tasks which require repetitive grasping and object manipulation. The end of a robot where there will be a human hand is known as an end-effector or gripper.

"The novel humanoid hand design is a soft-hard hybrid flexible gripper. It can generate larger grasping force than a traditional pure soft hand, and simultaneously be more stable for accurate manipulation than other counterparts used for heavier objects," said lead author Changyong Cao, director of the Laboratory for Soft Machines and Electronics at MSU and assistant professor in Packaging, Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

"The proposed soft humanoid hand has demonstrated excellent adaptability and compatibility in grasping complex-shaped and fragile objects while simultaneously maintaining a high level of stiffness for exerting strong clamping forces to lift heavy loads."

The team hopes to combine its developments with Cao's recent work on so-called 'smart' grippers with enough space for future research and development, incorporating printed sensors into the gripping content. And the researchers plan to simulate more reliably precise human behavior by integrating the hybrid gripper with soft-arms models.


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