Okay, maybe we exaggerated that title a little bit..But we really are serious. NASA and General Motors have began jointly developing a robotic glove that astronauts and auto workers can wear that will help reduce the risk of risk of repetitive stress. Research shows that continuously gripping a tool can cause fatigue in hand muscles within minutes. For example, an astonaut in a pressurized suit outside of the space station might need to use 15-20 lbs of force to hold a tool, but with the glove will only have to use 5-10 lbs of force.
The device, known as the K-glove or Robo-Glove is a result of NASA's Robonaut 2 project, launching a humanlike robot into space. GM was also a part of the R2 project, helping the robot operate tools designed for humans right along side astronauts in space and factory workers on earth. The R2 project showed unprecedented levels of hand density, achieved by using leading-edge sensors, actuators and tendons comparable to the nerves, muscles and tendons in a human hand.
"When fully developed, the Robo-Glove has the potential to reduce the amount of force that an auto worker would need to exert when operating a tool for an extended time or with repetitive motions. In doing so, it is expected to reduce the risk of repetitive stress injuries" Said Dana Komin, GM's manufacturing engineering director about the project.