German Researchers Test Robot Toughness With a Bat (The Poor Thing!)

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[Photo: DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechanics]
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has popped up here on GeekTech a few times with some very dexterous robots, but apparently they’re pretty tough too, like taking a beating from a baseball bat tough. In the video below, DLR Hand Arm System and its about to receive a “stress test,” and impressively enough, the arm functions as well afterwards as it did before receiving a blow.

What prevented the arm from being destroyed by the impact are the very same components that allow it to act like a human arm. This is thanks to a mix of 52 actuators and synthetic tendons made from Dyneema, a material that's stronger than Kevlar.

But rigidity is only half of the equation. The joints and actuators are designed so they can absorb and dissipate energy, too.

Markus Grebenstein, the Hand Arm System's lead designer explained to IEEE Spectrum, “robustness is essential if we want to deploy service robots in the real world, where collisions are likely to happen. Even small shocks can damage conventional robots, which rely on motors coupled to joins in mechanically stiff configurations.”

IEEE Spectrum has the full mechanical breakdown if you like to get down with the nitty-gritty technicalities of robotic joint designs.

[German Aerospace Center via IEEE Spectrum]

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