Robotic Device Lends Troops a Hand
A new robotic hand, developed by Sandia National Laboratories, mimics the capabilities of a human hand and could help disarm improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The Sandia Hand project aimed to create a cost-effective product for wide distribution to the troops with the flexibility and durability necessary to save lives in the field. The hand is modular, so different types of fingers can be quickly attached with magnets to perform unique functions. These fingers fall off rather than break in case of an accident, and the robotic hand simply retrieves its missing part and reattaches the finger. An operator controls the robot with a glove, and the lifelike design allows even first-time users to manipulate it easily. Unlike other methods of disarming IEDs such as blowing them up, the robotic hand delicately disarms the explosives, preserving evidence that could lead to the bomb makers themselves. Sandia partnered with Stanford University and LUNAR for the project, which the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency funded. See the Sandia Hand in action in the video below.