Inside the world’s top artificial intelligence labs, researchers are getting closer to creating robotic hands that can mimic the real thing. A robotic hand? Four autonomous fingers and a thumb that can do anything your own flesh and blood can do? That is still the stuff of fantasy.
Inside OpenAI, the San Francisco artificial intelligence lab founded by Elon Musk and several other big Silicon Valley names, you will find a robotic hand called Dactyl. It looks a lot like Luke Skywalker’s mechanical prosthetic in the latest Star Wars film: mechanical digits that bend and straighten like a human hand. If you give Dactyl an alphabet block and ask it to show you particular letters — let’s say the red O, the orange P and the blue I — it will show them to you and spin, twist and flip the toy in nimble ways. The future looks bright for amputees.
MAE RYAN, CADE METS and RUMSEY TAYLOR, NYT, ADAPTED