Created a robotic hand playing the piano without bending your fingers

Imitation of the movements of the human hand — doable, but very complex task for robots. To teach them “human” movements, developers equip the mechanisms of analogues of ligaments, muscles, nerves and, of course, bones and joints. Researchers from the University of Cambridge decided to go the other way is to equip a robotic limb with a minimum of parts and see what it can do. She was quite talented playing the keyboard.

Brush robotic arm was printed on a 3D printer Stratasys Connex 5000. The raw material used soft and hard materials, which essentially copied the human bones and ligaments. The brush was attached to the UR5 robot — researchers considered it the best option, as it is easily programmed in Python.


Since the brush has no bent parts, the robot was able to press on the keys of the synth is only turning the wrist. To achieve more flexibility in the game, the researchers changed the stiffness of the ligaments between the bones. Despite the inability to bend the fingers, the robot is able to play simple melodies. Data about the power of the taps is transmitted to the computer the Arduino.

According to Josie Hughes, who participated in the study, increasing the number of movements is so passive construction, they will be able to bring robots to a new level. For example, such robots will require much less energy due to the lack of need to perform complex commands and activate the detailed mechanisms.

Robotic musicians are not uncommon. In 2017, the engineers from the Georgia Institute of Technology unveiled a robot Simon playing the xylophone music of their own composition.

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