We’ve seen Exo suits in G.I. Joe movies and boy have they looked amazing! Now we’ve got an amazing video of an ExoHand that promises to change the way we interact with machines. It’s still in prototype stages but from what can be seen in the video below, it’s capable of some nifty movements. According to Reuters, the ExoHand has to be worn on the users hand just like any other glove and it is being designed to increase the gripping power of the hand by 2x (of the person who is wearing it).
According to German automation company, Festo, this new device may help make factory work more efficient owing to the use of automated hands, which also means there will be more precision whilst working with miniscule materials, which are an integral part of any assembling system. Heinrich Frontzek, spokesman for Festo, said that, "First of all the ExoHand is a glove which one slips into. And at the back of the glove there is a special power booster built in (the glove). That is done with little air cylinders that give power to every single finger through pressured air that is blown into it. Through that we can reach a doubling of the grip force." So a lot of pneumatics and air pressure is involved in the movement of this ExoHand. Along with that, the glove is embedded with a couple of sensors that monitor and detect the movement of the fingers and accordingly send instructions to pneumatic actuators using a computer algorithm. It’s these actuators that facilitate the moving of those mechanical fingers. As far as precision is concerned, Frontzek mentioned that the thumb as well as the finger can be moved and contracted accordingly. He went on to mention that, "The ExoHand was created in order to assist the demographic change in society, people are getting older, and the ExoHand can be used as a power booster in the work process."
This hand can be of great use for factory assembling but its uses are not limited to that. If it is connected to a brain-computer interface, it can help stroke patients suffering from paralysis to get the required connection between the hand and the brain. The uses of this ExoHand could be immense in the coming future. With the advent of such technology, it’s only fair to say that we humans are on the brink of a new chapter in our digital, technology enabled lives.