A 3D printed robot hand capable of playing Mario Bros on a Nintendo

A group of engineers at the University of Maryland has used additive manufacturing to develop this robot hand that is capable of playing one of the most famous video games developed by the Japanese company Nintendo. Although it seems science fiction, the project is already a reality and has achieved the most successful results. The programming of the movements made by the fingers that make up the robot hand has been able to complete the first level of the video game Super Mario Bros. It is true that the team of researchers could have carried out a standard demonstration to evaluate the capabilities and performance of the robot. hand, for example, playing a piano sheet music. However, they found it interesting to experiment with the precision and nature that the video game requires to achieve their objectives, and they did.

Many are the initiatives that today combine the advantages of 3D printing and robotics. Last year we met some projects of this style, such as the so-called NeuroPod, a robot-insect printed in 3D by a team of researchers in Spain, and which integrated artificial neurons to allow their autonomous movement. We can even go one step further, with the Cornell University project, who used additive manufacturing to create a robotic muscle capable of sweating and regulating its own temperature. In this way, and seeing the amount of research around this field, the great potential that both technologies have when combined is undeniable, and today we come to talk about this.

mano robot nintendo

A group of engineers at the University of Maryland has used additive manufacturing to develop this robot hand that is capable of playing one of the most famous video games developed by the Japanese company Nintendo. Although it seems science fiction, the project is already a reality and has achieved the most successful results. The programming of the movements made by the fingers that make up the robot hand has been able to complete the first level of the video game Super Mario Bros. It is true that the team of researchers could have carried out a standard demonstration to evaluate the capabilities and performance of the robot. hand, for example, playing a piano sheet music. However, they found it interesting to experiment with the precision and nature that the video game requires to achieve their objectives, and they did.

The 3D robot hand that plays Nintendo

For the development of the elements that make up the robot hand, PolyJet technology from the manufacturer Stratasys was used. In fact, soft robots are characterized by high malleability and morbidity, as they are manufactured from flexible materials, such as rubber or silicone. Specifically, the three 3D printed fingers make up the so-called “fluidic circuits”, which are controlled pipes so that the fingers can simply move with air, without the need for additional electricity. Ryan Sochol, co-author of the study, says: “Soft robots can be stretched, inflated or deflated relatively easily. As a result, they have an inherent adaptability to reshape around complex and sometimes delicate objects. What is special here is that we created a new type of fluidic circuit that can detect the types of air pressure to decide how it will behave. "

Instead of using semiconductor transistors to turn the motion signal on and off, as traditional electronic microchips do, the 3D-printed soft robot took advantage of pressure sensors in each of the fingers that make up the hand. In this way, the movements of the fingers were controlled by the pressure of the air running through the hand. Regarding the precision and programming of the robot hand to play the Nintendo, Sochol commented: “The synchronization of the video game and the composition of the level have been established for a long time and are invariable, with a single error capable of resulting in an immediate endgame. Doing it with a video game like Super Mario Bros in real time provided a means of evaluating the performance of a squishy robot that was exceptionally challenging and uncompromising. "