Exoskeleton hand gives you robo-powered fingers

Festo chairman Eberhard Veit shows off the ExoHand.


In the future when we’ll all be wearing robotic exoskeletons, we’ll laugh when we think back on the days when we were mere meatsacks. German automation firm Festo is helping us upgrade with the ExoHand, a glove controller that can give people a machine handshake.

Known for its elegantly engineered SmartBird robot seagull, Festo says its ExoHand can not only teleoperate a robot hand in a master-slave control relationship, it can reduce strain from repetitive tasks when using your own old-fashioned, flesh-and-blood hands.

It’s a “force amplification device” consisting of eight double-action pneumatic actuators. Potentiometers and pressure sensors track the force and position of the fingers.

With its force-feedback system, the glove could help manipulate objects from afar when dealing with hazardous environments such as nuclear power plants. Factory workers who perform repetitive manual tasks might also benefit from the ExoHand as it would increase their strength.

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