Robots are everywhere and the technology takes all sorts of shapes. Weed killers. Groovy dancers. Restaurant staff. But for all of these remarkable new abilities, there is one thing that robots still struggle to match—manual dexterity. A.k.a. Stuff we do with our hands.
We're talking about something that is as simple for people as picking up a fork. Opening a jar lid.
But seriously, the things that we do everyday with our five fingers is incredibly difficult to replicate. Especially to do it in a way that is as smooth, accurate, yet still firm as the human hand. That's the central purpose behind MELTANT-a, a new bot from Japanese company, Meltin. Its sole purpose? To perfectly recreate how people manipulate things. (Fun fact: "manipulate" comes from the Latin manipulus, meaning "handful".)
Give it a hand! Or two!
Meltin has designed a robot that can be either controlled remotely, or in real time through a pair of gloves that are wirelessly connected to the bot. This allows a person to use MELTANT-a to grab something as though it was right in front of them. And to do so with the same mix of precision and power that we take for granted everyday.
Lifting bottles. Twisting off caps. Opening doors. It's all within reach of MELTANT-a's abilities.
What does this mean for the future of human-robot relations? Researchers and scientists already use robot arms and hands to move and grasp things in places that they can't reach themselves. So more accurate robo-hands will certainly help them.
And in the long term, when combined with AI and other robotic advances, does it mean that a full-on android is that far away? Meet MELTANT-a for yourself in the video below.