MIT’s New Robotic Hand Gives You Two Extra Fingers [VIDEO]

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
Font Size:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s new “7 Finger Robot” turns all of your two-handed every day tasks, like opening a bottle or stirring a cup of coffee, into one.

Mechanical engineering graduate student Faye Wu demonstrated the device in a new video, and said the robotic fingers are controlled by receiving “the input from a sensor glove… that can measure the position of the human fingers.”

An algorithm then outputs the motion picked up by the sensors, and the wrist-mounted robotic fingers mimic accordingly.

“This is a completely intuitive and natural way to move your robotic fingers,” Ford Professor of Engineering Harry Asada of MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering said in an MIT News report Friday. “You do not need to command the robot, but simply move your fingers naturally. Then the robotic fingers react and assist your fingers.”


Asada said that with time and training, the device would be “like a tool you have been using for a long time.”

“You feel the robot as an extension of your hand,” Asada said.

The technology could eventually allow large, heavy or temperature-sensitive items to be easily held by a single individual, and help “elderly and people with disabilities,” according to Wu, who said the device could “help them enjoy living much more independently.”

In the long term, the device will learn and adapt to its users’ particular motions and grow more intuitive, according to Wu.

“This is a prototype, but we can shrink it down to one-third its size, and make it foldable,” Asada said. “We could make this into a watch or a bracelet where the fingers pop up, and when the job is done, they come back into the watch.”

“Wearable robots are a way to bring the robot closer to our daily life.”

Follow Giuseppe on Twitter and Facebook.