Scientists create inflatable ‘banana finger’ glove that can grab a can of Coke or a tennis ball

An invention to peel! Scientists create inflatable ‘banana finger’ care glove that can grab a can of Coke or tennis ball using a standalone knitting machine

  • The researchers used a standalone knitting machine to create the glove
  • The fingers can swell, allowing the glove to grip objects such as tennis balls
  • The glove can minimize the amount of muscle activity required to complete activities
  • It could be used for people with injuries, reduced mobility or trauma to the fingers

At first glance at this item, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a bunch of ripe bananas.

But it’s actually a new care glove, albeit with what its developers call “banana fingers”.

The glove was created by MIT researchers, who used a standalone knitting machine to create it.

The banana fingers are inflatable and, when inflated, allow the glove to grip objects including a can of Coke or a tennis ball.

At first glance at this item, you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a bunch of ripe bananas. But the item is actually a new care glove, albeit featuring what its developers call it

At first glance at this item, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a bunch of ripe bananas. But the item is actually a new care glove, albeit with what its developers call “banana fingers”.

The glove was created by MIT researchers, who used a standalone knitting machine to create it

The glove was created by MIT researchers, who used a standalone knitting machine to create it

What could it be for?

The glove can be worn by a human to complement the movement of the finger muscles, minimizing the amount of muscle activity required to complete tasks and movements.

“This could have great potential for people with injuries, reduced mobility or other trauma to the fingers,” MIT explained in a statement.

“The team glove can be worn by a human to complement the movement of the finger muscles, minimizing the amount of muscle activity required to complete tasks and movements,” MIT explained in a statement.

“This could have great potential for people with injuries, reduced mobility or other trauma to the fingers.”

Although soft pneumatic devices have been developed previously, these have required manual design, which can be labor-intensive.

Instead, MIT researchers developed a self-contained knitting machine called PneuAct, capable of knitting soft pneumatic devices unaided.

“PneuAct uses a machining process, not unlike your grandmother’s plastic needle knitting, but this machine works autonomously,” the MIT statement explains.

“A human designer simply specifies the dot and sensor design patterns in the software to program how the actuator will move and can then be simulated before printing.”

The textile piece is knitted by PneuAct using a conductive thread, before being attached to a silicone rubber tube to complete the actuator.

“Using digital machining, which is a very common production method in today’s textile industry, allows you to ‘print’ a design in one go, which makes it much more scalable,” explained Yiyue Luo. lead author of the study.

“Soft pneumatic actuators are inherently compliant and flexible and, combined with intelligent materials, have become the backbone of many robots and assistive technologies – and it is hoped that rapid fabrication with our design tool will increase ease and ubiquity. “.

The conductive wire allows for sensing, which means the actuator can “feel” what it is touching.

Although the current glove is equipped with tube-shaped actuators, the team now plans to test differently shaped structures

Although the current glove is equipped with tube-shaped actuators, the team now plans to test differently shaped structures

For example, when the glove grasps an object, the pressure sensor can sense how much force is being applied and adjust accordingly.

Although the current glove is equipped with tube-shaped actuators, the team now plans to test differently shaped structures.

“Our software tool is fast and easy to use and accurately previews users’ designs, allowing them to quickly virtual iterate while only having to fabricate once,” said Andrew Spielberg, author of the paper.

‘But this process still requires some trial and error on the part of humans. Can a computer explain how tissues should be physically programmed into actuators to allow for rich, sensor-driven behavior? This is the next frontier. ‘

The future of virtual reality? Meta unveils a prototype of a tactile GLOVE

Meta (ex Facebook) presented a prototype of a tactile glove that allows users to feel objects in virtual reality (VR).

The glove, unveiled by Meta Reality Labs, is lined with a series of small air pockets called actuators along the palms and fingers that swell to create the sense of touch.

The commercialization of a tactile glove is part of Meta’s ambition to transform itself into a “metaverse”, a virtual collective space shared with avatars of real people.

Work on developing the glove is still ongoing, but once fine-tuned and released to market, it would allow consumers to differentiate between containing different materials in the metaverse, such as a plastic pen or rubber ball.

A Meta spokesperson told MailOnline that the glove is just a research prototype for now and has no release date.

The glove, unveiled by Meta Reality Labs, is lined with a series of small air pockets called actuators along the palms and fingers that swell to create a sense of touch.

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