New robotic arm can thread a needle and untangle wires

Researchers at MIT introduced a robotic arm that can take on routine tasks that only humans could do before. For this, the device was equipped with dozens of sensors.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (CSAIL) Laboratory of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (MIT) has unveiled a new project – a two-finger robotic arm that can subtly manipulate objects such as cables, threads, and much more. Researchers were inspired by the arrangement of human fingers – they watched as people unravel the wires and tie knots.

To do this, the CSAIL research team equipped the hand with fingertips, which are made of soft material and built-in sensors that help to constantly determine the position of the cable in order to better control it and perform simple actions.

Sensors provide high-resolution tactile information using GelSight technology. This allows the robot to change the position of the fingers and grip, depending on the need.

The system was able to perform common tasks for humans but difficult for robots. For example, connect a set of headphones to the jack. Researchers note that this is a very big breakthrough – in the future, the robot will be able to fold tissue, tie knots, and heal wounds.

As a result, scientists want to create a robot that can cope with delicate work and free people from it – especially from one that may be unsafe. Moreover, if people do not do repetitive or boring tasks, then they will be able to focus on more complex and advanced work.