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GM Takes Hand-in-Glove Takes to a New Level

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On: Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 9:17AM | By: Arnold Knox


GM Takes Hand-in-Glove Takes to a New Level

GM has a plan to provide an out-of-this-world tool for earth-bound users. It’s a tool you are going to love when you work on your vehicle and need a little more oomph while leaning awkwardly over the engine or sprawled beneath it.

The RoboGlove is a by-product of a nine-year partnership between GM and National Aeronautics and Space Administration to develop the Robonaut 2 (R2) robot that was sent to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2011.

The R2’s hands’ high-tech hardware replicates the nerves, muscles, and tendons in the human hand; the humanoid’s hands proved to be so dexterous while handling human tools that the developers figured a wearable glove of the same design could help humans with their manual activities.

So, GM has joined with Bioservo Technologies AB, a Swedish Medtech company, to combine Bioservo’s award-winning SEM (Soft Extra Muscle) Glove technology with the RoboGlove’s. Bioservo creates strength-enhancing devices using the SEM technology for the rehabilitation of stroke patients and those with weakened or damaged muscles. The new RoboGlove will be designed to amplify the force and strength of the wearer which will lower the stress and fatigue of simply gripping tools and of doing repetitive or strenuous jobs. The soft exoskeleton glove would be helpful in healthcare and medical fields, in manufacturing and industrial work, and around the house, the yard, and the garage.

Kurt Wiese, vice president of GM Global Manufacturing Engineering, stated, “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.”

It’s just the thing to help loosen that bolt you’ve already WD-40’d, Liquid Wrenched, and sworn at it till you’re blue in the face and bloody on the knuckles.

GM plans to be the first industrial user of the battery-powered RoboGlove, and why not? It will give them a chance to test it in the workplace and work out the little real life problems that come from refining the glove and adapting for production in different sizes. Bioservo will market the glove in health and medical areas, industry and manufacturing, and any other places that grip strength and muscle stamina are a concern.

There has been no time frame announced for production and availability, so be patient; it will probably be well worth the wait.


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