Bioservo Technologies AB, a leader in soft exoskeleton technology, is finding new life on Earth for a robotic technology developed out of a partnership between General Motors and NASA for use on the International Space Station.
The Swedish medical technology company has signed a licencing agreement with GM to use the RoboGlove technology in health care, manufacturing and other industrial applications.
Working alongside GM, Bioservo will combine technology from its SEM GloveTM (Soft Extra Muscle) technology with the RoboGlove, a force-multiplying battery-powered wearable, to develop a new grasp assist device for industrial use that could increase human operator efficiency while reducing fatigue in hand muscles.
The RoboGlove is equipped with cutting-edge sensors, actuators and tendons that are comparable to the nerves, muscles and tendons in a human hand. One design requirement for R2 was to operate tools designed for humans, and developers achieved unprecedented hand dexterity. That technology was applied to the RoboGlove.
Tomas Ward, CEO of Bioservo Technologies described the technology combination as “a major step toward introducing soft exoskeleton technology globally”.
“Combining the best of three worlds – space technology from NASA, engineering from GM and medtech from Bioservo – in a new industrial glove could lead to industrial scale use of the technology,” he said, adding that Bioservo will make and sell the new glove for a variety of uses including medical rehabilitation and any place additional gripping strength is needed.
GM will be the first US manufacturing customer for the refined robotic glove and will test it in some of its facilities.
“The successor to RoboGlove can reduce the amount of force that a worker needs to exert when operating a tool for an extended time or with repetitive motions,” said Kurt Wiese, vice president of GM Global Manufacturing Engineering.