Cornell University is developing a robotic hand that can "feel". Gentle Bot, is a 3D printed robot that is able to sense objects through the use of "Optical Waveguides". LED lights inside the fingers allow it distinguish between different types of objects. Gentle Bot analyzes how its lights are affected by objects and uses this data to determine its environment.
Gentlebot's parts were printed with a Stratasys Objet 30 Polyjet 3D Printer and lithography. The hand is continously being tested by Cornell. Presently it is able to sense objects and even chose a ripened tomato. Huichan Zhao, one of the researchers believes that it could be replicated for around $50. A "feeling" prosthetic hand could be the next step for prosthetics.
A "feeling" prosthetic hand could be the next step for prosthetics. 3D printers are used to create prosthetics for amputees and even animals. The ability to produce prosthetics that feel economically would certainly help many people.
Photos by Science Magazine