Autonomous Robotic Manipulation-Hand (ARM-H) | SRI International

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the ARM-H robotic hand

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.