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GM's RoboGlove aims to boost grip of workers doing manual labor

Robotic glove born out of GM, NASA partnership
Posted: 8:56 AM, Sep 01, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-01 10:41:08-04

There are times we could all use a little boost of strength, especially when we're doing manual labor. 

Born out of a partnership with NASA, General Motors has developed a helping hand of sorts for repetitive work. 

"It's one of the things that came out of our collaboration with NASA as we developed the Robonaut 2 robot that’s still up on the International Space Station; we were looking at ways to help our workers do their jobs better," said Marty Linn, principal engineer of robotics at General Motors. 

Linn says the company took the actuators in the hand of the robot, and adapted them into a glove. The high-tech wearable is called the RoboGlove.

"It gives you the ability to …have additional grasp strength on the order of 20 pounds," said Linn.

The grasp-assist glove uses sensors, actuators and tendons to help reduce the stress placed on hand muscles, according to the company. The actuators as well as the battery pack shell were 3D printed. 

Linn says General Motors recently partnered with Bioservo Technologies AB, a medical technology company that plans to expand upon the RoboGlove technology and sell the device. 

"We're hoping to merge this glove with the gloves Bioservo has to be able to have broad distribution, broad application of the glove --  really in multiple industries," said Linn.