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Lightening Fast Robot Arm To Catch Flying Objects [Video]

Update Date: May 13, 2014 01:17 PM EDT

Researchers have developed a lightening fast robotic arm that can be used to catch flying objects. The hand is equipped with four fingers and is able to catch variety of items e.g. a half-full water bottle or a tennis racket.

"I think the main novelty we bring to object-catching is the way we transfer information from a human to the robot," said Ashwini Shukla, researcher at Learning Algorithms and System Laboratory (LASA) , in the press release.

The hand measures close too 1.5 meters and uses cameras to "watch" the objects coming at it. The arm can make adjustments in as few as five-hundredth of a second to catch objects.

"Increasingly present in our daily lives and used to perform various tasks, robots will be able to either catch or dodge complex objects in full-motion," said Aude Billard, head of LASA, in the press release. "Not only do we need machines able to react on the spot, but also to predict the moving object's dynamics and generate a movement in the opposite direction."

The creation is the latest entry into the field of prosthetics. Researchers said it is unique because of its ability to reach out and catch objects that are passing by through the air in its vicinity.

"Today's machines are often pre-programmed and cannot quickly assimilate data changes," Billard says. "Consequently, their only choice is to recalculate the trajectories, which requires too much time from them in situations in which every fraction of a second can be decisive."

The project was unveiled in a new paper published today in the journal IEEE Transactions on Robotics.

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