Building the world’s best robotic hand
Sarcomere Dynamics is bringing to market a robotic hand that replicates the human hand in all respects. At the core of this goal is the company’s patent pending actuator technology that enables the team to build near-human functionality in robotics. The human-like robotic hand can grasp a wide range of objects of varying geometry and mechanics (including shape, friction, and softness) and manipulate tools in different ways, like twisting, pushing, wrenching, or tearing. Uses for the robotic hands include tele-robotic operations, humanoid robots, and automation of tasks that require the level of dexterity only offered by the human hand.
The company's proprietary technology enables a compact and lightweight yet powerful and dexterous robotic hand. The versatility of the robotic grippers and hands saves customers from the need to regularly re-tool, or have a variety of grippers or hand types in stock.
Braving new ground in prosthetics and robotics
Sarcomere Dynamics started as a prosthetics company. The company created a minimum viable demonstrator hand using its novel actuator technology, which uses shape memory material. Weighing just 300 grams, the hand was capable of performing actions at almost half the dexterity of the human hand. The team measured this in degrees of freedom (DOF), where the robotic hand could operate at 11 DOF, compared to 25 DOF of the human hand.
During discussions with medical experts and amputees, the team realized that amputees could only make use of 6 DOF in a prosthetic hand, due to current limitations in the sensor technology generally available. The start-up had a major decision to make – reduce the functionality of their hand for prosthetics use, or push their technology to the limit to build a robotic hand that could mimic the human hand. The team chose the latter. Sarcomere Dynamics incorporated in February 2021, after entering the e@UBC Program in January. The team has been working on developing the technology to suit a variety of needs.
Commercial opportunities abound
Sarcomere Dynamics’ proprietary technology enables robotic hands that are compact and light, yet more powerful and dexterous than their competition. They are able to provide customers with more versatile robotic grippers and hands, eliminating the need to regularly re-tool or have a variety of grippers and hands in stock. Potential savings can be from $30,000 to $60,000 per hand/ arm setup. Not all end-users need high dexterity hands comparable to the human hand, and the team can easily design and build robotic hands to suit the task.
“We can reduce the dexterity of the hand any time we want", says Avtar, the Founder and CTO, "but we decided to go in the opposite direction and see what level of sophistication is possible with our core technology. Our next model undergoing internal testing weighs roughly 900 grams, is the same size as a human hand, and can generate grip strength unmatched by current human-like hands on the market. All without sacrificing speed or dexterity.”
The company is developing other products based on their proprietary actuators, including ultra-light and compact grippers for industrial and agricultural needs and exoskeletons. They are currently focused on completing internal testing and getting their product in the hands of waiting customers. They have several potential partnership discussions awaiting the final test results, and anticipate initial sales to start in Q4 2022.
About the founders:
Avtar Mandaher | CTO & Founder
- Education: Bachelor of Integrated Engineering, UBC
Harpal Mandaher | CEO & Co-founder
- Education: MDS (RMC), BMASc (RMC)
Nancy Mandaher | CFO & Co-founder
- Education: MALH (RRU), BCom(RRU), BN (AU)
- City: Abbotsford
- Founding date: February 2021
- Type of tech: Robotics