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The second generation Robonaut hand has many advantages over its predecessor. This mechatronic device is more dexterous and has improved force control and sensing giving it the capability to grasp and actuate a wider range of tools. It can achieve higher peak forces at higher speeds than the original. Developed as part of a partnership between General Motors and NASA, the hand is designed to more closely approximate a human hand. Having a more anthropomorphic design allows the hand to attain a larger set of useful grasps for working with human interfaces. Key to the hands improved performance is the use of lower friction drive elements and a redistribution of components from the hand to the forearm, permitting more sensing in the fingers and palm where it is most important. The following describes the design, mechanical/electrical integration, and control features of the hand. Lessons learned during the development and initial operations along with planned refinements to make it more effective are presented.
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