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Cyton Gamma robot arm to work with humanity

Ready to hold hands with a robot arm? Lighter than a laptop, this articulated mechanical limb "is not just another robot for roboticists," says Robai.


A new robot arm extends its manipulator in a gesture of friendship. Will you shake it?

Philadelphia-based robotics firm Robai hopes so. The latest of its Cyton robot arms is the Cyton Gamma, and it's designed to work with us meatsacks.

The Gamma's seven joints are "kinematically redundant," Robai says in a release, meaning it can move various ways to position itself. This gives it more dexterity.

The increased workload on the control system is handled by Actin, software from Energid Technologies that was developed for robots at NASA. The system uses a simple 3D graphical interface.

The Cyton Gamma weighs 4.4 pounds and has a reach similar to the human arm. It connects to Linux, Windows, or OS X systems via USB. Aside from programming with the GUI, it can be "trained" by being physically moved in space.

It also has support for ROS, the common robot programming framework being developed by Willow Garage.

"Our obsession has been on ease of use. We want the Gamma to be the first accessible robot on the market," Robai COO Neil Tardella says in the release. "This is not just another robot for roboticists."

It's been tested in applications such as remote inspection, manufacturing, and healthcare, according to Robai. The firm's Web site lists the Cyton Gamma MX-2 for $9,799.

The company's other arms have been used to test U.S. Army battlefield robots and to check under cars for dangerous objects.

What would you do with a robot arm?