ITK, a Japanese start-up that makes eclectic products such as walking sticks and gardening tools, is developing a low-cost, flexible robot hand that could be used in hazardous environments.
The Handroid is a remotely-operated hand with five movable fingers. It weighs roughly 1.6 pounds.
As seen in the promo vid below, users can operate it with a master-slave glove system so that their hand movements are reproduced by Handroid.
That could come in handy in places like the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where workers have struggled to manipulate doors with iRobot PackBots.
ITK, a spinoff of a machining company near Nagoya, wants to develop the Handroid into a prosthetic that can pick up electrical impulses from a user's muscles, just like Touch Bionics' i-Limb Pulse.
But as a robot appendage, it could cost only a fraction of the price of the i-Limb Pulse. Robonable reports ITK wants to market the Handroid in two years and sell it with the glove controller for some $6,500.
That's because the Handroid's digits move with a simple cable system instead of individual servomotors, which would make it heavier and costlier.
ITK's got moxie for a small company in the Japanese hinterland, and I wouldn't be surprised if it turns this into a real product.