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Hands in the Real World.


Robots face a rapidly expanding range of potential applications beyond controlled environments, from remote exploration and search-and-rescue to household assistance and agriculture. The focus of physical interaction is typically delegated to end-effectors-fixtures, grippers or hands-as these machines perform manual tasks. Yet, effective deployment of versatile robot hands in the real world is still limited to few examples, despite decades of dedicated research. In this paper we review hands that found application in the field, aiming to discuss open challenges with more articulated designs, discussing novel trends and perspectives. We hope to encourage swift development of capable robotic hands for long-term use in varied real world settings. The first part of the paper centers around progress in artificial hand design, identifying key functions for a variety of environments. The final part focuses on the overall trends in hand mechanics, sensors and control, and how performance and resiliency are qualified for real world deployment.

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