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Researchers from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia have published their study on the robotic hand, PhysOrg.com reports. The main objective of the dexterous anthropomorphic robotic typing hand, or DART hand, was to demonstrate that it could type on a computer keyboard, and it certainly passed that test. A single DART hand was shown typing at 20 words per minute, and the researchers predict that two DART hands could type at 30WPM. By comparison, humans average 33WPM with two hands.
"[The greatest significance of our work is the] optimization of the hand design to reduce the number of motors in order to achieve a similar degree of freedom and range of motion as the human hand," Priya told PhysOrg.com. "This also allowed us to achieve dimensions that are on par with the human hand. We were also able to program the hand in such a manner that a high typing efficiency can be obtained."
DART's researchers began the process of building the robotic hand by first studying the physiology of the human hand, including its musculoskeletal structure, range of motion, and grasp force. Researchers then used 19 servo motors and a series of wires to replicate what they found, achieving 19 degrees of freedom (the human hand has 23 degrees of freedom).
DART can be controlled by input text, either through a keyboard or using a voice recognition program. In the future, researchers hope to coat the robotic hand in a silicone skin, as well as add temperature sensors, tactile sensors, and tension sensors to improve force feedback control.
Image Credit: Physorg.com