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DARPA Unveils Robotic Hand Capable Of Using Tweezers [VIDEO]

May 02, 2013 01:36 PM EDT

The Department of Defense has unveiled a robotic hand with dexterity and strength far exceeding that of its claw-like predecessors.

Born from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program, the manipulator boasts three fingers able to accomplish such feats as picking up a card lying flat on a table and use tweezers to pick up a straw.

On the other end of the spectrum, the hand can hold a 50 pound weight as well as a basketball. Far from fragile, when struck with a baseball bat, the machine’s fingers are able to bounce back into place, unfazed.

According to DARPA, the ARM program consists of three tracks, including software, hardware and outreach.

The hardware track is largely focused on the design and development of low-cost, dexterous hands through the use of recent manufacturing advancements.

The software track deals mainly with developing new algorithms as well as approaches for developing both grasping and manipulation using local sensors used for perception.

Finally, the outreach track seeks to engage the public by providing robotic systems to public museums as well as encouraging unfunded participants to “develop algorithms robot autonomy through the web to a real system.”

The use of innovative robotics is far-reaching, according to DARPA, including preserving lives and reducing casualties in war-related situations, according to the agency’s site.

However, robots are ultimately “limited when adapting to multiple mission environments” and require “burdensome human interaction and lengthy time durations for completing tasks.”

The ARM program is just one outlet looking to change that, with its latest invention setting the mark for the future of robotics even higher than before.

The last robotic arm DARPA announced having created was able to nearly complete a tire change, albeit very slowly.

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