What could you do with 7 fingers?

Everyday tasks like removing a bottle lid, stirring your cup of tea and peeling a banana are all simple enough, until you need to use just one hand. However, a  new wrist-mounted robot could help by providing an extra 2 fingers.

Researchers at MIT have developed a robotic mount that gives you 2 extra fingers either side of your little finger and the thumb. Using a unique algorithm it is then able to move in sync with a users own fingers to grasp objects of various shapes and sizes, allowing people to do things like hold a mug whilst also stirring in the sugar with the same hand.

“This is a completely intuitive and natural way to move your robotic fingers. You do not need to command the robot, but simply move your fingers naturally. Then the robotic fingers react and assist your fingers.” – Harry Asada, Ford Professor of Engineering, MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering

It is hoped that the robot will be able to assist people with limited dexterity in their hands, whether through disability or old age, thereby increasing their independence.

For more technical information see the MIT News article.

Your views

What do you think of this new technology? Could it really help people, or just become a gimmick? What effect is robotics and research like this having on the bearing industry?  Let us know your views in the comments below.