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NASA’s RoboGloves Can Double the Strength of Your Hands


Marty Linn, General Motors principal engineer for robotics, shakes hands with Robonaut 2, the robot that led to the development of the gloves. NASA/GM

They were initially created with robots on the International Space Station (ISS) in mind, but such “Robogloves” would be possibly helping Earthlings in the fields of health-care and manufacturing in the near future.

It has taken nine years for General Motors and NASA to create these gloves. The technology was initially developed for use for NASA’s Robonaut 2, which was sent  into space in 2011. But at present it is practically used for soft wearable gloves.

The gloves is characteristic of a network of sensors, actuators as well as some “tendons”, which would make it possible for the wearer to take up tools with enhanced force, at the same time the user would keep the normal dexterity of a human hand. So It is kind of a soft exoskeleton for your hand.

It was In 2012 that the glove was being developed, NASA said that it was necessary for people to use 15 to 20 pounds of force to grip a tool in the course of  operation. However, with the help from such robotic glove, just 5 to 10 pounds of force would do it well.

As Kurt Wiese, vice president of General Motors Global Manufacturing Engineering, said in a news release: the successor to RoboGlove could decrease the amount of force that was necessary for a worker to apply when using  a tool for a longer time or repeating the action for a period.

Therefore, such RoboGlove would be the better optional tool for assembly workers, manual laborers, and even surgeons. Not long long, General Motors had signed a licensing agreement with Bioservo Technologies AB, a Swedish medical technology company, although the applications for biomedicine had some way to go before the practical results came out.


An up-close shot of the RoboGlove design. NASA/GM