The gloves are the product of nine years of development between General Motors and NASA. The technology was originally designed for use for NASA's Robonaut 2, a robot that was launched into space in 2011. However, it's now being applied to soft wearable gloves.
The gloves feature a network of sensors, actuators, and “tendons”, which enable the wearer to grip tools with increased force, all while maintaining the normal dexterity of a human hand. It’s basically a soft exoskeleton for your hand.
In 2012, when the glove was still in development, NASA said you “might need to use 15 to 20 pounds of force to hold a tool during an operation. But with the robotic glove they might need to apply only 5 to 10 pounds of force.”
Kurt Wiese, vice president of General Motors Global Manufacturing Engineering, summarized in a news release: “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.”
It’s, therefore, ideal for assembly workers, manual laborers, and even surgeons. General Motors has just signed a licensing agreement with Bioservo Technologies AB, a Swedish medical technology company, although the applications for biomedicine are not clear just yet.