In the March 2010 issue of NASA Tech Briefs, we introduced you to Robonaut 2, or R2 (read the original article at www.techbriefs.com/ component/content/article/7635). Last year, R2 became the first humanoid robot in space, and has been busy testing its technology in microgravity aboard the International Space Station.
When General Motors (GM) and NASA began collaborating on R2, one of the design requirements was for the robot to operate tools designed for humans. An unprecedented level of hand dexterity was achieved on R2 through sensors, actuators, and tendons comparable to the nerves, muscles, and tendons in a human hand.
NASA and GM have been developing a robotic glove that auto workers and astronauts can wear to help do their jobs better while potentially reducing the risk of repetitive stress injuries. Officially named the Human Grasp Assist device, it is generally called the K-Glove or Robo-Glove. Initial testing of the Robo-Glove indicates the wearer can hold a grip longer and more comfortably.
Watch a video of how Robo-Glove was developed at www.techbriefs.com/tv/robonaut. Find out more at www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/robo-glove.html.