Robotic glove comes to life

Robotic glove technology developed out of a partnership between General Motors and NASA for use on the International Space Station is being brought to life in health care, manufacturing and other applications.

Through a licensing agreement between GM and Bioservo Technologies AB, a Swedish medical technology company, Bioservo will combine technology from its SEM GloveTM (Soft Extra Muscle) technology with the RoboGlove.

GM intends to be the first US manufacturing customer for the refined robotic glove and will test it in some of its plants. GM briefly tested RoboGlove in a preproduction plant before looking for a partner to help refine it to fit different size hands and address other issues.

The RoboGlove uses leading-edge sensors, actuators and tendons that are comparable to the nerves, muscles and tendons in a human hand. One design requirement for R2 was to operate tools designed for humans, and developers achieved unprecedented hand dexterity. That technology was applied to the RoboGlove.

‘Combining the best of three worlds – space technology from NASA, engineering from GM and medtech from Bioservo – in a new industrial glove could lead to industrial scale use of the technology,’ said Tomas Ward, CEO of Bioservo Technologies. Ward described the technology combination as a major step toward introducing soft exoskeleton technology globally.