Robotic glove technology developed by General Motors Co. and NASA will be used for health care, manufacturing, and other industrial applications through a licensing agreement between the automotive manufacturer and Bioservo Technologies AB, a Swedish medical technology company.
“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,” says Tomas Ward, CEO of Bioservo Technologies.
GM and NASA’s RoboGlove, a battery-powered wearable created during a nine-year collaboration that included launching a humanoid robot into space in 2011, uses sensors, actuators, and tendons that are similar to the nerves, muscles, and tendons in a human hand.
Working with GM, Bioservo will combine technology from its SEM (Soft Extra Muscle) Glove with the RoboGlove to develop a new grasp assist device for industrial use.
The company will make and sell the new glove for applications where additional gripping strength is needed.
“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,” says Kurt Wiese, vice president of GM Global Manufacturing Engineering.
He says GM intends to be the first U.S. manufacturing customer for the new robotic glove and will test it in some of its plants.