DLR Hand Photo

Delicately handling a pretzel, the robotic hand developed at the Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft und Raumfahrt (German Aerospace Center), in the countryside outside Munich, demonstrates the power of a control technique called force-feedback. To pick up an object, Max Fischer, one of the hand's developers, uses the data-glove to transmit the motion of his hand to the robot. If he moves a finger, the robot moves the corresponding finger. Early work on remote-controlled robots foundered when the machines unwittingly crushed the objects they were manipulating. Researchers realized that they were trying to operate robots that didn't have any sense of the force they are exerting - feedback of the type ordinarily given by the nerves in the fingers. Now that the robot is equipped with sensors, it can feed back signals to the data-glove - giving Fischer the sensation of touching the object, and helping him handle it with appropriate delicacy.

Light, universal manipulator for space and service applications

140 cm
Approximately 22 kg
Stereo vision
Wrist force/torque, joint and motor position, joint torque
External Power
48 V DC, 20 kHz AC

Person-hours to develop software
Many, many...
Project Status
Complete - next generation hand soon operable, feels good, looks even better

Information Source
Max Fischer