Showing posts from October, 2009

Mechanical finger

I'm a bit surprised I never posted about this sooner. When I was in high school, back around 1990, I designed and built prototypes of a human-shaped finger for a robot. At the time there were already some human-shaped mechanical hands, but I was disappointed by their Erector Set bulkiness and openness. I imagined they would pinch human skin and damage all sorts of things humans are used to interacting with. I was trying to think of a way to solve that problem and came up with the idea of constructing a solid finger out of a sandwich of layers of parts. I built a prototype out of balsa wood and then another out of plastic. Below are some pictures I just took of them and the design sketch for the plastic one. I guess I didn't think much of them because, as the years went by, so many great innovations have come about in this area. Still, I think there's merit in this approach. This is incredibly lightweight. The balsa wood one weighs a few grams.  They each weigh