Design and Control of an Anthropomorphic Robotic Hand: Learning Advantages From the Human Body & Brain
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According to the cortical homunculus, our hand function requires over one quarter of the brain power allocated for the whole body's motor/sensory activities. The evolutionary role of the human hand is more than just being the manipulation tool that allows us to physically interact with the world. Recent study shows that our hands can also affect the mirror neuron system that enables us to cognitively learn and imitate the actions of others. However the state-of-art technologies only allow us to make cosmetically true-to-life prosthetic hands with cadaver-like stiff joints made of mechanical substitutes. And very few research groups know how to design robotic hands that can closely mimic the salient biological features of the human hand. The goal of our project is to reduce cognitive and physical discrepancy, in the cases where we need a pair of our hands interacting with a different environment remotely. Our project will try to answer the following questions: With the great advance of 3D-printing technologies, and promising new materials for artificial muscles and ligaments, can we design a personalized anthropomorphic robotic hand that possesses all the favorable functions of our very own hand? With such a robotic hand, can we reduce the control space, and establish a easy mapping for the human user to effectively control it? Is it possible to teleoperate the robotic hand to perform amazingly dexterous tasks without force feedback as those surgical robots demonstrated? To answer these questions, we are going to investigate the design and control of our proposed anthropomorphic robotic hand.