A robotic glove developed in a partnership between NASA and General Motors (GM) for use onboard the International Space Station (ISS) has found a new purpose on Earth. Swedish medtech company Bioservo Technologies has entered a licensing deal with GM that will see the RoboGlove used in manufacturing and healthcare, among other industrial use-cases.
Based in Stockholm, Bioservo Technologies specializes in soft exoskeleton technology and robotics and creates “strength-enhancing” products. The company markets the SEM Glove, which is used as an “occupational back-to-work aid” by those with impaired muscular strength. Now the company plans to merge the smarts of this SEM glove with the RoboGlove, which was developed during a nine-year partnership that also gave birth to the human-like Robonaut 2 (R2) that has been carrying out research on board the ISS since 2011
The RoboGlove strives to replicate the nerves, tendons, muscles, and dexterity of a human hand through sensors and actuators. It’s not a standalone robotic hand though — it’s an actual wearable glove designed to add strength and grip to a human’s hand to alleviate stress and fatigue when carrying out repetitive tasks.