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Robot hand hits 20WPM, nearly ready to embrace infinite monkey theorem

Sean Hollister
February 20, 2011
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Robot hands have been grabbing, crushing, drawing and otherwise actuating for years, but have you ever seen one properly type? That's the primary purpose of a new Virginia Tech design. Engineers built this Dexterous Anthropomorphic Robotic Typing (DART) hand to mimic the real deal as best they could, down to individually-actuating three-segment digits and 110 degrees of wrist rotation in a package the size of a real human arm. Using a total of 19 servo motors and high tensile strength wire for the tendons, they managed to create a single mechanical paw that can achieve an estimated 20 words per minute while typing. Next, they plan to cover it in silicone skin and add piezoelectric sensors to provide tactile feedback. Imagine that: the next time a secret family member severs your arm with a focused plasma beam, you'll know where to go for replacement. Find a quick video and the full scientific paper at the links below.

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