DARPA robot hand picks up keys, 50-pound weights

Forget the pitcher: The prototype hand, developed by iRobot, can take a licking.

(Credit: Screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET)

Mimicking the human grasp is no easy feat. Robotic hands tend to be clunky and expensive.

But now, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is showing off a robotic hand that’s dexterous enough to pick up keys and tough enough to survive being hit with a baseball bat.

The video below shows a prototype from DARPA’s Autonomous Robotic Manipulation project. Instead of trying to reproduce the human hand in robot form, the prototype focuses on function. It has three fingers that are able to pick up small objects such as keys and credit cards, and it can even grasp objects with tweezers.

The robotic hand can also pick up a basketball, bear 50-pound weights, and keep working even after being hit with a baseball bat.

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