What if handheld tools knew what needs to be done and were even able to guide and help inexperienced users to complete jobs that require skill? Researchers at the University of Bristol (UK) have developed a novel concept in robotics: intelligent handheld robots.

Compared to other tools such as power tools that have a motor and perhaps some basic sensors, the handheld robots are designed to have more degrees of motion to allow greater independence from the motions of the user, and importantly, are aware of the steps being carried out. This allows for a new level of cooperation between user and tool, such as the user providing tactical motions or directions and the tool performing the detailed task.

The aim is to capitalize on the intuitiveness of using traditional handheld tools while adding embedded intelligence and action to allow for new capabilities.