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SQUSE’s robot hand designed to handle fragile goods

By Damir Beciri
3 Comments24 June 2009

kyoto-squse-robotic-hand-handles-sushiWe already wrote about a prosthetic arm and a toy robotic arm in our previous articles. In this article we’re going to write about a robotic hand designed in Japan. Although it resembles a lifelike hand in a great degree, its main application won’t be in prosthetics. Kyoto-based factory automation company Squse (yes, their page is currently written only in Japanese) has developed a robotic hand that is dexterous and delicate enough to handle sushi.

It is made of a polycarbonate skeleton covered by a skin which is made of soft silicone. The skeleton part itself weights only 220g, while the silicone skin weights 120g. It can lift up to 1kg (or 1.5kg, depending on the shape of the object it manipulates). It is available in two variations. One is more human resembling (H type, image left) and the other (G type, image right) is mounted on a base and resembles industrial robots.

It has 22 actuators which represent pneumatically powered artificial muscles. They enable its fingers to move as the fingers of a human hand do. The whole arm has 16 degrees of freedom which allow it to move in a human-like manner.

It also has many ways to manipulate objects and different grips, ranging from a full-hand squeeze to a delicate two-finger pinch used to transfer sushi from one plate to another. The hand has a delicate grip because it is designed to pack, handle and even harvest fruits and vegetables without bruising them or to handle fragile goods or factory parts being processed.

Since it weights only 340 grams it shows potential for being used as a prosthetic limb. Unfortunately, the hand isn’t skillful enough yet, but with a few alterations and new features it might become a serious competitor on the prosthetics market.

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3 Comments — Leave your response!

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    Dan, I’ve been watching to see if advances have been occuring to get this hand workable for prosthetic use. It’s been almost three years since you posted your article. Any updates or links on that wouls be appreciated. Also, your article suggests it could be tweaked for prosthetic use. Do you know if they intend to??

    Thanks in advance!!

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    Damir Beciri

    After a bit of research, I found out that SQUSE is using this technology as a showcase and there are no hints there will be a commercial version that could be adapted for prosthetic use. Even if they would come up with a version you could wear, you would have to wear a tank with pressurized gas that would activate the pneumatics.

    Their website states that the purpose of this pneumatic robotic hand is to “Pick and Place” in food industry.

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