High-Speed Robot Hand Demonstrates Dexterity and Skillful Manipulation

Ishikawa Komuro Lab's high-speed robot hand grasping grain of rice using tweezers.

A few blogs are passing around videos of the Ishikawa Komuro Lab's high-speed robot hand performing impressive acts of dexterity and skillful manipulation.  However, the video being passed around is slight on details.  Meanwhile, their video presentation at ICRA 2009 (which took place in May in Kobe, Japan) has an informative narration and demonstrates additional capabilities.  I have included this video below, which shows the manipulator dribbling a ping-pong ball, spinning a pen, throwing a ball, tying knots, grasping a grain of rice with tweezers, and tossing / re-grasping a cellphone!

Here is the video:


Based on the video, the hand uses high-speed actuators with harmonic drive gears.  The hand can close in 1/10th of a second!  Personally, I find the tweezers grasping the grain of rice the most entertaining -- very anthropomorphic.


Ishikawa Komuro Lab's high-speed robot hand grasping a grain of rice with tweezers


If you'd like to learn more about this (and other) robots from the Ishikawa Komuro Lab, see their website.



The rise of robots (including industrial and humanoïd) with good and above all complex skills thats reach human performance is coming to us the next years!!! Robots ready to buy in the store like "HPR-4C" and ("DER3" from Kokoro) with wide and complex performances is only a matter of time.
The 600 series had rubber skin. We spotted them easy, but these are new. They look human... sweat, bad breath, everything. Very hard to spot. I had to wait till he moved on you before I could zero on him.

Amazing, Robots in Japan are making noodles and getting in the house a little more than they should. It's a good idea to take the world to a next level.

Make the robots do your work.

holy cow!

that takes alot of work man!!

awesome robot!

Great.. So.. we're doomed.
I find this extremely exciting and scary. Funny how early science fiction writers were spot on with many things.
—mark kram

Sure. Make robots make robots? What could possibly go wrong?


WHy be scared of a mind less programmable robot hand, that is completely harmless, and really non-intelligent, except with the task for which it was programmed for?

 I find it humor people are WAY to into the terminator movies and Matrix, to actually think we are any where near artificial intelligence. We are NOT.

 What is impressive, with the dexterity hand and with a lot of cool running and stair climbing robots we are seeing in japan..is that these robots look and move to human like, we interprite that as it being 'intelligent'.

When in reality, the robots are dumb as a nail, and only do what task they are to do. yes, I guess you could program a robot to run up and stab a human being... this does have some things people need to think about.

but, murder is nothing new in the human world. However, machines becoming intelligent enough to become concience and program itself to murder with complex emotional and other intentions...is so far away that it is not even funny.

 But, the robotic movements that minic human movements IS very exciting for what GOOD things can come of it... if nothing else its just plain COOL.

The Atom Bomb, is far more a threat than a robotic hand. 

I think the scary part is how the robot hand went from ponderously and kind of clumsily hardly being able to do anything useful a generation ago - skipped straight over being equally as good as a human hand - to being faster, more accurate and more dextrous than a human hand in this video.  Either it can't bounce a ball at all or it can bounce a ball a thousand times a second and you can't even follow it with your puny human eyes.

It's not AI - but you can suddenly see what they are on about with the idea of a singularity - in the same week that AI is able to operate as intelligently as a human mind - they will be 100 times smarter than us.


Wow...  great achievements !

Will we finally have a new friend to colonize new worlds with ?

They *really* need to teach it Bishop's knife trick!

>>> "They *really* need to teach it Bishop's knife trick!"



It may be the case that AI has not advanced enough for us to be concerned about robots taking over the world, but these advances are a problem for many. How many trades and services which rely on human dexterity will in the not so distant future become robotic tasks.

Skill which we admire today will be seen as unimportant in a world where robots which can perform the same tasks are in every machine shop and warehouse.

Even in the field of entertainment, I suspect that many people would fail to see the worth of a juggler juggling with ten balls when a robot juggler could juggle with a hundred.Why else did you watch the video of the hand performing its tricks?

When the owners of the wealth (and they will also be the owners of the robots) can produce what they want without your intervention, you will become redundant.

Don't tell me that I am scaremongering; the process started with industrialisation and continues apace. That is why, in a world where there was once no unemployment, tens of millions are unemployed today, and many hundreds of millions more lead tedious, demeaning, unfulfilling lives as their skills become worthless. Don't think you are immune just because you make robotic hands; tomorrow there will be a robot to take your place.

Don't get me wrong, I am as fascinated  by the technological advance as anyone else, but in an economic system where wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few and technology enables those who are rich to dispense with the services of the poor, the poor (and that probably includes you) are not set to benefit.

One point: calling me a Luddite won't invalidate the argument, and please don't roll out that tired old suggestion that we all educate ourselves out of poverty; the world just doesn't need another billion programmers/architects/doctors/whatever.

Surfdom awaits...


1) There has never been no unemployment.

2a) Surfdom might be kinda fun.

2b) Serfdom was the reality BEFORE industrialization.


"How many trades and services which rely on human dexterity will in the not so distant future become robotic tasks."

 Answer: All the boring ones. Creative work stays, manual labour goes.

Encomys rebalance slowly as technology increases.

It might increase unemployment in the shortterm, but it also makes products cheaper. In the longrun, it balances. People work less, and can do more with that they earn.  

We can feed thousands more people for vastely less effort then a few hundred years ago. More and more work goes  from being essential (food,water,shelter) to being entertainment or research based. 

This is a -good- trend and should be encouraged.

 "That is why, in a world where there was once no unemployment, tens of millions are unemployed today, and many hundreds of millions more lead tedious, demeaning, unfulfilling lives as their skills become worthless. "

 A world with no unemployment? You mean back when most of humanity spent most of their time farming? Because THAT was tedious and unforfilling.

We have vastly more freetime in todays world.

We can work for a few hours  and feed ourselfs for a week on those wages.

If you stop to think about that, its incredible.*

 *(and yes, I acknowledge this is partly due to some foods being far too cheap and exploiting of the countrys it comes from) 

"; the world just doesn't need another billion programmers/architects/doctors/whatever."

Moreso then farmers, blacksmiths and builders it does, yes.  You have a very romantic view of ye-old-days.

(of course, the world also dosnt need a bigger population period. But thats a different mater...) 


Removing jobs from *needing to be done* massively helps the human race as it reduces the total workload for all of humanity. 

No, the pains of this world come from daft encomic systems and systemic inefficiencys not from reduceing labour needed to achieve stuff.


@James.  Don't worry.  With our current technological state machines still can't create the next machines.  Sure a lot of manual labor jobs will go, but they still need people to get the machines to do the correct work.  There are more and more of those positions open every day and they pay a whole lot more.

This is just wrong in so many ways! I don't think Mother Nature will like this too much and you know what happens when you fool with Mother Nature?


The ONLY use for equipment like this would be use the bots instead of humans in an event where there is injury or death potential, otherwise use of bots like this will be the extinction of the human race!


I would be impressed if he was dribbling more than 1 ball.  Why can't the program the hand to dribble N number of balls?


Oh no the scary robotic hand will get us all !!!!!1!!112

Attention please: this particular robot hand will not kill, steal or adulter. In fact it would love to just keep flipping that phone over and over again (that was pretty sweet). If you want to fear technology that's totally your perogative, however you should fear AI, or weapons technology, or technology-enabled biowarfare. The xbox 360's new project natal with it's ability to sense your emotion is a lot scarier than a rather dextrous robotic hand.

Also, the book/movie "I, Robot" is not real, and isn't actually a historical perspective of the future apocolypse

In closing, dude chill.


How you can be relaxed about this I have no idea.  You may have missed the part where it spins a pen.  This is what robots do when they're scheming.  Wake up before we find them twirling moustaches, and all is lost.
Cool! Obama administration will figure out what to do with the construction workers, assembly line workers, drivers and pilots losing their jobs. Being a programmer, I guess I would get to keep my job a little longer.

This is frankly awesome. There is no way I could catch that phone so well! I do wonder how many takes it took to get that shot though, and how many phones were dropped, but even so... that so damned impressive.

How long until I can build my own version of Data? 

I like how it can simultaneously flip you off whilst dribbling a ball ... That takes skill.
actually im wondering how long it would take to set up a similiar system for amputees.
I am amazed by the robot capability. I wonder what else they cannot perform in future.Surprised
Great stuff and super cool catching the phone ill be checking yalls progress keep up the good work
Especially when many humans seem to be proud of being stupid.

Actually, long before true AI is achieved, robotic devices such as these will probably find their way onto humans. Brain-machine interfacing is becoming more refined by the day. The APL at Hopkins has already put together a prototype arm prosthetic that can be manipulated by a patient's very own brain signals.

In short, we'll see machine-augmented humans well before we have to worry about robots with strong AI taking over the world. And at that point its hard to say which one will have the upper hand.


This would be even more impressive if they could motivate the hand (and feet/legs) by thought or limited muscle control. Then it could be used to replace lost limbs.

Only time . . . 


All along the watchtower.....