According to Michael Pollitt, CEO of Shadow Robot Co in the UK, the hand accounts for 26% of the human body's movement potential. In the mechanical world, there is nothing like it -- at least not yet. Schunk Automation Group's product manager, Jesse Hayes, believes that the flexibility of robotic hands will earn them space on the factory floor over the next five to 10 years. In many ways, Schunk's design builds on many of the innovations in the original three-fingered robotic hand, the BH8, which was developed by Barrett Technology Inc in the 1990s. Surprisingly, hands developed as human prostheses are generally less capable than those under development for service robots. These hands may not approach the complexity or functionality of nature's handiwork. Yet, increasingly, they are good enough to get the job done, whether it is picking parts out of a bin, performing remote surgery, or just reaching for a key to open a door.
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