GM to Test New Robot Glove for Factory Workers

GM to Test New Robot Glove for Factory Workers

General Motors wants to be the first company to test a new robotic glove that should help factory workers assemble cars. 

GM has licensed its RoboGlove technology to a Swedish medical technology company called Bioservo Technologies, which will result in a new robotic glove that could help GM’s factory workers build cars by reducing grip fatigue. The original RoboGlove, which was developed by GM and NASA, took nine years to create and was sent into space in 2011 on a humanoid robot called Robonaut 2.

GM already briefly tested the RoboGlove in one of its manufacturing facilities, but eventually stopped the program and began seeking a partner to help refine the glove as it couldn’t fit multiple hand sizes and had a number of other undisclosed issues. Bioservo will now combine GM’s RoboGlove technology with its own Soft Extra Muscle (SEM) glove to come up with a new grasp assist tool for industrial use.

“Combining the best of three worlds – space technology from NASA, engineering from GM and medtech from Bioservo – in a new industrial glove could lead to industrial scale use of the technology,” said Tomas Ward, CEO of Bioservo Technologies.

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GM intends to be the first U.S. manufacturing company to test the glove from Bioservo, to see if it helps in its assembly plants. The new glove will also be used for medical rehabilitation and helping to increase grip strength for those who need it.

“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,” said Kurt Wiese, vice president of GM Global Manufacturing Engineering.

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