The Breakthrough

Using flexible 3D printed fingers, a new hand developed by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab is less likely to break fragile objects when it picks it up. The robot hand can be fit onto existing robots, and uses artificial intelligence to remember types of objects its picked up before.

The Implications

Lots of people dream of a household robot that can pick up after you. But actually grabbing objects is tricky to program -- the robot needs to be told where to place its hand on the object. But the new MIT robotic hand "does not really worry" about where to place each finger, making it significantly more flexible -- it can even pick up an egg, leading to robots that could conceivably bake food from scratch.

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