Clone penetrates deep into the uncanny valley with his lifelike robotic hand

Clone penetrates deep into the uncanny valley with his lifelike robotic hand

Clone Robotics is putting in an impressive effort to ensure that “smart androids” have some of the most human-like hands in the field, and watching the way their hydraulic “muscles” move under the translucent skin is definitely hypnotic.

Are robots really need to Ultra biomimetic hands? Probably not, in many applications; There are certainly task-specific designs that are better for most jobs, and likewise there are certainly other, more general designs that can go beyond the limits of the human hand. On the other hand, the urban world we live in is built almost exclusively around the bodies that evolution has given us – especially our hands. So there is definitely an argument for designs like Clone.

Whatever your opinions on the subject, it’s undoubtedly great to watch the Clone hand move, especially since the team uses a transparent “skin” that lets you see the interlocking of the artificial muscles in action:

Artificial Muscles Robotic Arm Full Range of Motion + Constant Strength Test (V11)

This muscle is the Clone team’s development of the McKibbin muscle idea. Effectively, these are mesh tubes with balloons inside; Such things have been around for decades. When the balloon is stretched, usually pushed with either an external pneumatic or hydraulic pump of the muscle, its radial expansion forces the mesh to contract longitudinally.

Clone didn’t want to use bulky external pumps; The team wanted a muscle that you could simply apply an electric current to, and make it contract in a reasonably controlled manner. So they came up with the idea of ​​keeping the balloon filled with a liquid – at some point acetaldehyde – and running a powerful heating element through it. When a stream is applied, the liquid element quickly boils—in the case of acetaldehyde, taking it from atmospheric pressure at 20°C (68°F) to 6.6 times that pressure at 70°C (158°F).

You can watch a version of this muscle being tested in the video below; Sure, it shrinks impressively fast considering how it works, but you can see the designers have to cool it down with water mist to get the thing to relax.

Powerful artificial muscles for robots

As for the skeleton, Clone has forged a set of bones relatively human-like, with articulated joints to ensure a range of motion as close as possible to a human hand. The team claims about 27 degrees of freedom, like our hands, with natural wrist movements and thumb rotations — all powered, just like our arms, by a complex interweaving of muscles and tendons that run along the forearm and through the hand itself.

It appears that in the current prototype, Clone reverted to a simpler muscle-drive hydraulic system, distributing pressure from a 500-watt, 145-psi water pump via a series of 36 electro-hydraulic valves, each with its own pressure sensor. There are also magnetic sensors to feed information about joint angles and velocities to whichever brain it’s running.

The company says it will ship hand kits to customers by late 2022, though it hasn’t set a price yet. The next product will be a complete torso with a solid spine, including 124 muscles through the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, chest, and upper back. It will ride on the “motion platform” that holds its own battery pack. But the focus will be on these hands, and rightfully so. Check out the team’s latest video below.

Stereoscopic hand cloning grasping different things

source: clone robots

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