Reading aloud Scientists at Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe have developed an artificial hand that weighs little, is highly mobile and feels natural when touched. These properties are achieved by so-called "micro-fluid actuators". They consist of small chambers that change their size when filled with gas or a liquid.

Due to their small size, they can be completely integrated into every single finger of the artificial hand. Not only do they enable secure gripping of objects, they also give the impression of a natural hand due to their elasticity and softness. Since the gripping technology largely adapts autonomously, the effort for the control could be greatly reduced. The flexible fluid actuators of the hand are operated with 3 to 5 bar compressed air and achieve force effects of up to 10 N. The fingers and the wrist can be bent independently.

Applications for artificial hand see the researchers in medical technology and robotics. As part of a service robot, the hand will initially help elderly and disabled people in everyday activities, such as opening a door or holding a drink. Due to their design, in contrast to previous robot hands, there is virtually no risk of injury in direct contact with humans. Whether the construction method of the artificial hand is also suitable for hand prostheses, is currently being tested.

Almut Bruschke-Reimer


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