Handshake with a Robot

Handshake with a Robot

Technical textiles may make the settlement of Mars and the conquering of space a possibility in the future. The ‘Living in Space’ exhibit at Techtextil in Frankfurt this month helped attendees to imagine a new future through various fascinating experiences.

Challenge
“Many tasks simply cannot be performed by astronauts because of the physical barriers and distances involved” shared the representative from the German Aerospace Center (DLR). DLR is the national and space research center of the Federal Republic of Germany. It’s extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures.

Motivation
In the upcoming future satellites will reach the end of their lifecycle. The robotic hand, a.k.a. “Spacehand”, has the ability to ‘memorize’ movements with prior-given instruction through human ‘performed’ movement. ‘Spacehand, is the most dexterous tool, able to solve the most delicate tasks in case the regular set of tools is inadequate. For example, if you’d like the robot to reach out and offer a handshake then a ‘memory-glove’ worn by a human needs to perform the task first. The detailed data from the movement is translated to the robotic hand who then may perform the task on command.

A cappuccino perhaps…?
My next question seemed logical…and I asked inquisitively whether my new robotic friend would be able to make me a cappuccino? After all, ‘Spacehand’ has three fingers and a thumb!

‘Spacehand’ is made from many technical materials and weighs 3.3kg. The representative from DLR wore a memory suit that easily fit under their professional attire. The idea was to wear a device that captures the data to instruct a robotic device. The technology could open up opportunities that we never thought were possible to achieve. No they didn’t have my size in the memory suit, so I couldn’t try it on!

Check out this site if you’d like to learn more about the work being done at DLR with ‘Spacehand’ – www.DLR.de/rmc