Firming up your grip by doing the Farmer’s Walk and various other hand and forearm exercises may soon be moot if plans to use robotic glove technology in the manufacturing industry pushes through.
After doing time at the International Space Station, the RoboGlove – developed by General Motors (GM) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – will be available to various industries on Earth through a licensing agreement made by GM with Swedish medical technology company Bioservo Technologies AB.
In order to be able to operate hand tools designed for human hands, the ‘new’ RoboGlove will now sport SEM GloveTM (Soft Extra Muscle) technology and ‘leading-edge sensors, actuators and tendons thatare comparable to the nerves, muscles and tendons in a human hand.’
RoboGlove2 aims to increase human operator efficiency by acting as a grasp assist device to reduce fatigue in hand muscles, which research shows happens within a few minutes of continuously gripping a tool.
“Combining the best of three worlds – space technology from NASA, engineering from GM and medtech from Bioservo – in a new industrial glove could lead to industrial scale use of the technology,” said Tomas Ward, CEO of Bioservo Technologies.
GM intends to be the first U.S. manufacturing client for RoboGlove2 and will soon test it in some of their plants.
“The successor to RoboGlove can reduce the amount of force that a worker needs to exert when operating a tool for an extended time or with repetitive motions,” said Kurt Wiese, vice president of GM Global Manufacturing Engineering.