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Autonomous Robotic Manipulation- Hand (ARM-H)
SRI and partners are developing highly dexterous low-cost robotic hands for military applications and other real-world uses.
Matching the dexterity of the human hand in a robotic device is vital in military and civilian applications to assist or replace human hands. Use of dexterous robotic hands in high-risk situations, such as defusing a bomb, keeps people out of harm’s way. In everyday life, these devices could help overcome limitations or extend capabilities to perform repetitive, or challenging tasks.
DARPA’s four-year, multi-track Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program is developing software and hardware to enable a robot to autonomously perform complicated tasks with high-level supervision. SRI is designing the ARM-H robotic hand, the first in a new generation of low-cost dexterous robotic manipulators. SRI contributions include:
- Novel design that allows for mass production at relatively low cost
- Inexpensive back-drivable transmission
- Under-actuated fingers with selective joint stiffening, yielding high efficiency and flexibility
- Variable-friction skin
- Robust design for field use
This approach offers the following cost and performance advantages:
- Wider variety of grasps compared to current designs, with a potential 90 percent cost savings through volume production
- Scalability to larger and smaller manipulators
- Gripping force of 10 pounds; payload of 50 pounds
- Complex grasping, including wrapping around objects and precision grasping with fingertips
- Easy maintenance with field-replaceable parts
This solution should assist in handling everyday objects, which is still a challenging task in robotics. Military applications are an attractive early use due to the safety it can affordably provide for soldiers in theater.