General Motors builds a ton of cars. Last year, the company sold more than 3 million cars, trucks, and SUVs just in the US.
As a result, the company is constantly on the look out for ways to make the manufacturing process more efficient.
On Wednesday, GM announced that workers at some of its plants will test out a battery-powered, force-multiplying robotic glove using tech the automaker and NASA developed for use on the International Space Station.
The high-tech glove features a series of sensors, actuators, and tendons that are designed to mimic the dexterity of the human hand, but with amplified gripping force.
In effect, GM is giving its workers robotic hands. Pretty cool!
According to the company, the robotic glove will reduce fatigue for workers engaged in repetitive motions.
The technology — called RoboGlove — was created as part of a nine-year partnership between NASA and GM which culminated in the 2011 launch into space of a humanoid robot called Robonaut 2.
“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,” GM Global Manufacturing Engineering vice president Kurt Wiese said in a statement.
The production version of the glove will be manufactured and marketed under licence from GM by Bioservo and will also incorporate the Swedish medical tech firm’s own force-multiplying technology.
Once the production version of the glove is ready, GM announced that it will be the first manufacturing customer to adopt the tech in the US.
In addition to manufacturing, GM and Bioservo believe the technology can be adapted for heath care and other industrial applications.