The iRobot ARM-H hand was developed via DARPA’s Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program, which is aimed at creating an autonomous robotic manipulator that acts like a human hand. The three-fingered hand in the video was designed to perform a number of specific tasks that mimic the function of a human hand, and is dextrous enough to turn a key in a lock (and open a door). Bedford, MA-based iRobot (best known for creating the Roomba vacuum cleaner) developed the hand with support from Harvard and Yale (and funding from DARPA). It was one of three designs submitted to DARPA, and the only one selected for use in the ARM-S (software) program, which is focused on developing artificial intelligence for the robotic hand.
Even more impressive than the hand’s functionality is its potential price. The prototype reportedly could be made for $3,000 per unit in batches of 1,000 or more. (For more on robotic hands, see this previous post.)