Obrero Robot Has The Soft Touch

Obrero is a prototype robot built to explore the concept of sensitive manipulation; its grasp is very soft because it uses sensors in its robotic hand when manipulating objects, rather than just relying on machine vision.


(Obrero robot with sensitive manipulation)

Obrero has 8 force sensors, 5 position sensors, 5 motors and 7 high resolution tactile sensors in its hands.

The hand was designed to be compliant. It has postion and force control of the fingers. Additionally, it has very sensitive tactile sensors. Each of the fingers has series elastic actuators in its joints. A finger has two mecahnical coupled links. However they can decouple to conform to an object. The thumb and the middle finger can also rotate using series elastic actuator. The tactile sensors were custom made for doing manipulation task.

Take a look at a just a few seconds video showing Obrero picking up a very flexible object - a bag of my favorite cookies! This is a compilation video; the Obrero robot portion is just from 2:40 to 3:15.


(Obrero robot video [starts at about 2:40])

Obrero is a robotic project being worked on by Eduardo Torres-Jara and supervised by MIT Professor Rodney A. Brooks. Dr. Brooks is a co-founder of iRobot; he left his post of CTO a year ago to found his own robotics company, Heartland Robotics.

On his website, he states that "I want to effect a powerful evolution in the world's labor markets, and my current focus is to develop low-cost robots that will empower American workers." Obrero is where he is starting to do this work.

As it turns out, science fiction fans have been in good (robotic) hands as far as imagining robot hands that are controlled both by touch and by sight. Read what sf Grandmaster Robert Heinlein writes in his 1956 story The Door Into Summer.

Hands I could order from the atomics-engineering equipment companies who supplied Hired Girl's hands, only this time I would want the best, with wide-range servos and with the delicate feedback required for microanalysis manipulations and for weighing radioactive isotopes...

The ears I could buy from any of a dozen radio-TV houses - though I might have to do some circuit designing to have his hands controlled simultaneously by sight, sound, and touch feedback the way the human hand is controlled.
(Read more about Heinlein's robotic hands)

Take a look at the Obrero homepage; not much to see yet at the Heartland Robotics company website. Via NextBigFuture.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/6/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...' - Harry Harrison, 1958.

Unusual Twist On Woman Dates Robot
'My hearing, vision and awareness went along with that excellent imitation of a young Adonis...' - Manly Wade Wellman, 1938.

Blood Battery Robotic Fish
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'- Michael Swanwick, 2002.

Bee+ Robobee Now With Four Wings
'It was a tiny thing, scarcely more than an inch and a half in length...' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1936.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...'

Better Than Dune Chromoplastic? This Guy Might Have Done It
'But when Old Father Sun departs, the chromoplastic reverts to transparency in the dark.'

Gather, An AI Warehouse Inventory Drone Startup
'It extended three of its tiny arms sideways to lock onto the registration pins...'

China's Artificial Intelligence-Enhanced Education
'The grey gas not only cut off his vision, but also his other senses...'

Orbital Manufacturer 'Made in Space' Gets $73 Million NASA Contract
'Mass-produced in the orbiting factories...'

Soli Gesture Tech Will Be In Google Pixel 4
'I enjoy watching this way, but - He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

Uber Eats Pairs Cars With Drones
Fresh grub? Let's hope they aren't delivering grubs.

Space-Based Solar Power Roundup
SF writers popularized and elaborated on this idea a generation before the first patents were filed.

Lost Language Meanings Found By Machine Learning
'The autopilot would need data before it could begin a translation...'

'Aerogel' Sheets For Martian Gardens
'Sealed to the ground along all the sides, Honey, he growled...'

France's 'Red Team' Of Science Fiction Authors
'They're the only experts we have.'

Dim The Sun With Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment
'Those twin volcanoes; d'ye see them, Mr. Renner?'

Mashambas Skyscraper Farm Design Wins
'...a towering eighty-story structure like the office In-and Out baskets stacked up to the sky.'

Self-Driving Tractors From China Plan Ahead
'Machines that seemingly with full consciousness walked out into the fields to do their daily work.'

Jet-Powered Hoverboard Works!
L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace!

Nobe 3-Wheel Electric Vehicle Parking Like I, Robot
Spidercar, Spidercar, does whatever a spidercar does.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.