German robot hand takes a licking, apparently keeps on ticking (video)

Sadists at the German Aerospace Center's (DLR) Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics are showing off their latest development in anthropomorphic appendages: a robotic hand that can take a beating from a baseball bat and still give you the middle finger (or a thumbs-up, we suppose). Researchers apparently designed the limb to function like only a human hand can, and it seems they've done a decent job: it's got five independently functioning fingers, sports 19 degrees of freedom (one less than the real deal), and can even snap them phalanges -- oh no they didn't! It's also got the ability to exert a force of 30 newtons from its fingertips. So what makes it so resilient? The robo-hand has a built-in web of 38 tendons, which allow it to adapt its stiffness under different circumstances: a step away, its creators say, from rigid appendages of the past. There's a video of the hand taking a beating after the jump, but honestly, we'd prefer to see what happens when the hand fights back.