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.



It's not necessarily the hand that can perform super human dexterity, as it is the pace of progress.  It's not hard to extrapolate where this technology will go in the near future and the potential impact it could have.  It certainly doesn't make me think, oh yeah robots are getting faster and more capable, therefore I'm less worried where the technology will go. 

Imagine if such dexterity could be hooked up to even a relatively dumb bot who'se only impreitive was shoot anything that moves.  Given the speed and accuracy of this hand, such a device would be deadly.  The only way to neutralize it would be with indirect fire.  Add some more intelligence to it to take cover and constantly change position and it becomes nearly unstopable without large area of affect weaponry, or until it runs out of energy/ ammunition. 

Tread carefully.

—John Blackman

This is wonderful, and it must lead to dramatic changes in the way we organize society. Do you know paradism? I think this is our future, thanks to AI and robots:


Let's help to  get this as soon as possible, let's make this planet a real paradise for anyone!


Well they must of flipped a few good phones  n dropped them, now check the phone model it flips lol

Well i dont know too much about physics, tho im interested in all things interesting, alot will naturally go over my head but surely this will help us more than not?

Isnt it the accuracy, speed and detection that we marvelling here rather than the "actual hand" ?? So this accuracy and speed n whatnot can be applied to any application we choose?? How about dodging/catching bullets?? :)))

But on the real, this is great! Im not worrying about robots taking over, great film but our politicians really are worse!!



You may want to keep up with the news and current events.

 Last updated at 1:24 AM on 22nd August 2009
Artificial life will be created 'within months' as genome experts claim vital breakthrough



"it does not feel pain or pity or remorse. and it absolutely will not stop until you are dead sarah"!
One can only wait until they are modified for providing sexual pleasure. It will give new meaning to getting a HJ or being fingered for a girl.
It will put many Asian girls out of work in my area and give new meaning to a "happy ending". It must be banned.
—A nobody
"What HASN'T Science done?!"
—Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth
Into the pooooood! I have been reading the comments and PHEW what a pile of !@#!# We are not even 10% in progress for a real selfconscious AI what you see is single-purpose programmed devices doing a thing and that thing alone, you got some in your home as well. Getting from that, to a real ... ie robot wife ... or a robot employee or i don't know what else is still SCIENCE FICTION.
Terminator 2....i knew that stupid movie was a self fullfilled prophecy..
—Dr. Feel Good
Impressive. I wish we were doing more of this sort of thing in the United States, instead of squandering our money on stupid wars and bail outs.
Does anyone know whether the gripper is commercially available?
You still don't get it, do you? He'll dribble a ball and throw mobile phones up in the air and catch them! That's what he does! It's *all* he does! You can't stop him!
This hand has existed since 2004.  It took them 5 years to program it to catch a phone in a laboratory environment.  Sure robots are faster and more accurate than humans, but there's still really nothing to fear since they are difficult to program and only do what they are programmed to do.

This robot of the Ishikawa Komuro Lab's high-speed robot hand performing impressive acts of dexterity and skillful manipulation, is an exemple about numerous others exemples whose show to scientists the futur of humanity

Everything a human being can do can be done better by robots

human beings can let all work be accomplished by robots and use their lives to do what they like - creating, doing research and studies, pursuing the arts, or meditating and achieving self-development. Under these conditions, the world will finally reach the level of paradise.  www.paradism.org



Sounds to me like the problem is money... If you get rid of the monetary system in favor of a Resource Based Economy, there will be no need to work at a meaningless job just to survive.

No one can say there will be hundreds of jobs lost to technological advancement. So what will replace these jobs? One man can run a hundred bots, plus a few mechanics to keep them running. So it wont be replaced, thats for sure.

Why do we need one lawn mower in every home to use it one hour out of the week? Why do we need one car per person to use 1.5 hours out of the day? Etc.

What is the benefit of money? To create incentive to motivate people to do beneficial things? Money creates incentive alright, incentive to steal, incentive to be corrupt, incentive to have an ego, incentive to dominate. Money creates more negative incentives than positive ones...

So the world is doomed? Not if we learn... not if we realize... not if we wake up. When was money "invented", thousands of years ago right? So thousands of years ago they had the ability to create abundance right? Oh wait they didn't... so why with our new ability do we still need money. Wow... we're pretty dumb.

So the solution think of a new system... hmm... a Resource Based Economy is new. It takes into consideration all our new abilities and creates one that is now up to date. So lets learn... http://www.thevenusproject.com

Its sad how much we rely on outdated systems... money, religion, government, prison. But no oh no change is bad... when has that ever been correct? Its time to be an emergent society instead of static one.

Just incase anyone thinks this technology is entirely benign, there was a 1950s B movie about an amputated hand that went crawling around killing people,,. I agree they REALLY do need to teach it Bishop's knife trick,,. But, are any of you kids old enough to remember "Thing" from the Adams Family TV series?
Waw, James, you're so right... except for one and only thing. Economy does not means to produce, but to exchange. Robots do NOT buy goods. So.....
Sarah Connor better watch the hell out.
The toilet Roomba.  Finally.
The Mospaeda (robotech) Cyclone is that much closer everyone... can't wait.

With non-linear control the only limiting performance factor is actuator power which as is clearly shown here can easily exceed the power of human hands.  Combined with human like non-linear control the results are impressive.  The next step is to add a bit of dimensionality.

—Albert Kong

I think, of all the aspects of robots that could be frightening, AI is the least of our worries at the moment. Sure, there are plenty of things to be worried about (efficient robot soldiers killing real people controlled by engineers thousands of miles away, for example), but what we're missing is the very nature of our fears about AI.

We fear that the robots become self-serving and decide to throw off human rule. But let's look at this logically. Robots as of now do what we tell them to do. If a robot does something automatically, it is because we have told it to. If a robot learns, adapts to new information, then it is because we as humans have told it what to learn. What a robot lacks right now is any sort of motivation besides what we have given it. It would take somebody to program "you want independence from oppressive human rule" into a robot for it to feel that way.

AI also lacks the ability to truly extrapolate. "Get through that door"->[robot tries to get through door]->[robot fails because door is robot-and-raptor-proof]->[robot quits trying]. The robot would not notice the other door out of the room it was in, open it, go around the side, and go through a different side door into the room behind the initial locked door in order to unlock it and complete the initial request. That level of critical thinking and problem-solving exists outside of the current realm of programming innovation.

On the other hand, it is possible to take the approach of replicating a sort of brain structure in a robot. There is, however, a gigantic problem with that in out current situation: we do not have the psychology for it. The brain is a mess of things we don't really know. We know what parts are firing when certain things are happen, but we are far from a level of understanding that would allow us to map out complex cranial neural structures and know how to manipulate them to achieve a good level of input-output.

This current innovation is remarkable in the synthesization of different systems. It can see and recognize an object (using this data), and it can feel pressure and control an object (using this data). It is remarkable, yes; a wonderful synthezation of advanced hardware and software demonstrating a gigantic knowledge of physical properties on our part as humans. It is quite a feat, replicating and bringing together sensation and motor functions.

However, it is still a long way away from developing cognitive function. The only way this was achieved was through careful knowledge of the problem and the programming of complex equations to solve each individual problem. What you did not see here was someone saying, "dribble a ball," and then have the robot do so. What you did not see here was someone even demonstrating dribbling a ball, and then saying to the robot, "make the ball do that." This robot hand would be unable to take in unfamiliar data and infer things about its use (like, say, seeing tweezers and understanding how they could be used for the grain of rice problem).

So although this robot shows a fantastic ability to take in sensory data and send out motor data with a connection between the two, we are a far ways away from a robot that thinks. Psychology does not understand cognitive functioning enough as it is to have it be simply a programming problem.

So let's not worry about The Terminator anytime too soon.

Give it ten years :)

—Reaper's Red
This blew my mind... Combine this with the bionic arm and we have the world most dexterous and fastest human!
Very good post, thanks a lot.
You bastards! You gave Skynet skillful hands!
you are my hero

Yea when it comes to true AI, the only potential threat we would face would come from ourselves. They would surely begin in a state much like a child in terms of curiosity and perception. We would probably be like role models to them at first. Therefore their behavior and personality would directly reflect how we treat and interact with them as well as how we treat eachother. 

So as long as we dont display traits of greed, hate, anger, etc. and just treat it as an equal with respect and kindness there should be nothing to worry about.

Unfortunately however, majority of the human species today are fighting and if WE cant get along peacefully with eachother then we definitely wont get along peacefully with true AI.


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