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25 May, 2024

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Low-cost bionic hand gives cobots human-like capabilities

02 January, 2024

The German engineering plastics specialist igus has developed a humanoid hand gripper that allows its ReBeL family of low-cost collaborative robots (cobots) to take on human-like tasks. The hand, made of lubrication-free plastics, has been designed to imitate human hand movements, and costs from £2,668 ($3,367) in the UK.

“With the new low-cost hand, the ReBeL can perform a wide range of simple humanoid tasks and applications, especially in r&d at universities, but also tasks in commercial kitchens or in the entertainment industry,” explains Adam Sanjurgo, igus UK’s manager of low-cost automation.

“Since the ReBeL is light and affordable, with a weight of around 8kg and starting from £4,200, it is widely used in applications that humans would normally do,” he adds. “For this reason, we received several customer enquiries for a robotic hand that can be connected easily to the ReBeL via plug-and-play.”

The hand is controlled via digital IO at the tool centre point, simplifying integration and adding flexibility. Its low price is achieved, in part, by using lubrication-free plastics, including plain bearings in the joints made of iglidur polymers which allow smooth, precise movements of individual fingers. The hand can be controlled by various interfaces, including USB, TTL (5V) serial and internal scripting. All components, including flange mounts, cables and the control system, are delivered directly from igus.

igus’ low-cost bionic hand gives its low-cost ReBel cobots human-like capabilities

The compact, lightweight ReBeL cobots can be used to sort, pick and move items with the help of cameras and mechanical or vacuum gripping systems. They allow SMEs to enter robotics at a relatively low cost.

igus:  Twitter

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