Dexterity in Robotics

With each product iteration, humanoid robots improve in mobility, dexterity, and agility. One of the challenges will be to equip the robots with hands with human-like tactile abilities, dexterity and mobility. In the meantime, enjoy the video.

The future of robotics

Robotics is a rapidly evolving field, and one of the key areas of development is the increasing dexterity of robotic systems. Whether it is a surgical robot that performs delicate tasks with pinpoint accuracy or a manufacturing robot that handles delicate components with ease, dexterity is taking on an increasingly important role in the world of robotics. In this article, we will take a closer look at what dexterity is, why it is important in robotics, and some of the latest developments in this field. If you are interested in the cutting-edge world of robotics, read on to learn more about the exciting world of dexterity in robotics.

Robot dexterity

Robot dexterity can be defined as the ability of a robot to handle a variety of objects and actions. It is the way robots can interact with and handle objects and take necessary actions on objects. Dexterity (in English dexterity) in robotics is in a nascent stage, but it is expected to improve significantly with advances in machine learning, big data and depth perception technology.

The role of dexterity in robotics

Dexterity is important in robotics for several reasons.

Precision and control

First, it enables robots to perform tasks that require a high degree of precision and control. This is especially important in applications such as surgery, where a robot’s ability to manipulate small objects and operate in confined spaces can make a significant difference in the outcome of surgery.


Second, dexterity can increase the efficiency and productivity of robotic systems. By enabling robots to manipulate objects more easily and quickly, dexterity can allow them to complete tasks faster and with fewer errors. This can reduce the time and effort required to complete a given task, helping to reduce costs and increase profits for companies and organizations.


Third, dexterity can improve the safety of robotic systems. By giving robots the ability to handle objects more gently and carefully, dexterity can reduce the risk of damage to the objects handled and to the robot itself. This can help prevent accidents and injuries, making robotic systems safer to use in a wide range of environments.

In general, dexterity is an important aspect of robotics that can have a significant impact on the performance and capabilities of robotic systems. By enabling robots to manipulate objects with greater precision and control, dexterity can help improve their efficiency, productivity, and safety, making them more useful and valuable in a wide range of applications.

Key variables of dexterity in robotics

The following table lists and describes the key variables that contribute to dexterity in robotics. These variables relate to the robot’s ability to sense its environment, manipulate objects, move accurately, adapt to new situations, and interact effectively and safely with humans. Please note that dexterity in robotics is an evolving field of research and that these variables may vary depending on the specific application or type of robot.

Prension CapabilityThis variable indicates a robot’s ability to grasp and manipulate objects of different shapes, sizes, and weights. It can include fine manipulation, such as grasping a needle, or coarse manipulation, such as lifting a box.
Tactile SensitivityThis variable refers to a robot’s ability to feel physical contact or pressure. This can help the robot determine how tightly it is grasping an object or when it has actually touched an object or surface.
Visual PerceptionThis variable indicates a robot’s ability to use images or vision to detect objects or navigate space. It can include the ability to recognize objects, detect obstacles, or follow a path.
Motion ControlThis variable refers to a robot’s ability to move with precision and control. This includes the ability to perform complex movements, such as turning around a corner, or perform precise movements, such as placing a component on a circuit board.
AdaptabilityThis variable indicates the ability of a robot to adapt to new tasks or environments. This may include learning from past experience, adapting to changes in the environment, or solving unanticipated problems.
Human-Robot InteractionThis variable refers to a robot’s ability to interact safely and effectively with humans. This may include the ability to understand and respond to voice commands, to avoid harming humans, or to work cooperatively with humans.

Examples of robots from the real world

The concept of dexterity might seem very complex at first glance; let’s try to simplify it with some examples.

Type of RobotDexterityLevel of DexterityExample of Robots
Industrial RobotsIndustrial robots, such as those used in assembly lines, have remarkable dexterity in terms of speed and precision in movement. They are capable of performing repetitive tasks with precision that exceeds human accuracy. However, they may not be as well suited to manipulate objects of different shapes and sizes or to adapt to new tasks.HighKUKA KR AGILUS
Domestic RobotsThese robots, like robot vacuum cleaners, do not have great dexterity in the traditional sense. However, they do have the ability to navigate a home environment, avoid obstacles, and perform tasks such as cleaning the floor.MediumRoomba
Surgical RobotsSurgical robots, such as the Da Vinci Surgical System, have remarkable dexterity. They can perform very precise movements, enabling surgeons to perform minimally invasive surgeries. However, they are highly dependent on human control.Very highDa Vinci Surgical System
Search and Rescue RobotsThese robots must have high dexterity to navigate complex and potentially dangerous environments. They can cope with difficult terrain, locate people or objects, and sometimes perform rescue operations.HighPackBot by iRobot
Entertainment RobotsEntertainment robots, like toy robots, can have a variety of dexterity levels. Some can perform a range of movements and react to user input, while others may have more limited capabilities.VariableNAO from Softbank Robotics

What are the technical challenges of dexterity in robotics?

The technical challenges associated with dexterity in robotics are numerous and complex, given the breadth and depth of the field. Here are some of the main challenges:

Sensory perception

One of the main technical challenges in robotics concerns sensory perception. Robots, to operate effectively and autonomously in the real world, need to perceive their environment accurately. This requires the use of a variety of sensors to collect data from various sources.

The following table illustrates some of the types of sensors used in robots and the associated challenges:

Sensor TypeDescriptionChallenges
Vision SensorsUsed to collect images or video of the surrounding environment.Correctly interpreting the images requires sophisticated image processing algorithms and can be difficult in varying light conditions.
Tactile SensorsUsed to detect physical touch or pressure.Creating sensors that can replicate the sensitivity of human touch is a challenge.
Sonar/Ultrasound SensorsUsed to detect the distance between the robot and an object or barrier.These sensors can be affected by uneven surfaces or materials that absorb or reflect sound in unpredictable ways.
Temperature SensorsUsed to detect the temperature of the environment or the robot itself.Maintaining accuracy over a wide range of temperatures can be difficult.
Inertial SensorsUsed to determine the orientation, speed, and position of the robot.These sensors can be subject to drift over time, which can accumulate errors.

The combined use of these sensors can provide a detailed picture of a robot’s environment, but collecting and interpreting this data is a significant challenge. Sensor fusion, which combines data from various sensors to get a better sense of the environment, is a common technique, but it requires advanced algorithms and significant computing power. In addition, sensor design must balance accuracy, durability, cost and other considerations.

Object manipulation

Manipulation of objects, often performed through prehension, is one of the most difficult tasks that robots must perform. Grasping and manipulating objects of different shapes, sizes and materials requires a combination of sophisticated sensors, hardware design and advanced software.

Here is a table detailing some of the major problems and solutions in this area:

ProblemsPotential Solutions
Grasping Delicate ObjectsRobots must be able to recognize and adjust their force when grasping delicate objects. This requires sophisticated force/touch sensors and force control algorithms.
Fine HandlingPerforming tasks that require high precision, such as tightening a screw or suturing a wound, may require highly precise robotic hands and advanced control software.
Grasping Objects of Various Sizes/ShapesThis requires prehension algorithms that can determine the best strategy for grasping various types of objects, as well as possibly adaptable manipulators or grippers.
Grasping Objects in Messy EnvironmentsRobots must be able to identify and locate objects in messy or unpredictable environments. This may require advanced visual sensors and deep learning algorithms.

Solutions to these problems require a mix of hardware and software development. Sensors must be accurate and reliable, while software must be able to correctly interpret sensor data and make appropriate decisions. This is a very active field of research, with new technologies and techniques continuing to emerge.


The adaptability of robots is critical to their effectiveness in a wide variety of scenarios. This is a major challenge in robotics and involves the ability of a robot to learn and improve its performance based on past experiences and to adapt to new tasks or environments.

Robots that have a high degree of adaptability can be used in a wider range of applications and can respond more effectively to unexpected situations. This is especially important in dynamic or unpredictable environments, where the robot must be able to adapt quickly to new situations.

The field of machine learning is a key component in developing this adaptability. These techniques allow the robot to “learn” from data collected from its interactions with the environment, thereby improving its performance over time.

Here is a table explaining some of the key aspects of adaptability in robotics:

Supervised LearningInsupervised learning, the robot learns from a set of labeled data. For example, it might learn to recognize a specific object by seeing many images of that object.
Unsupervised LearningInunsupervised learning, the robot learns without labeled data. It may, for example, learn to group similar objects together.
Learning by ReinforcementReinforcement learning is a type of learning in which the robot learns to perform actions that maximize a type of reward. This is often used to teach robots complex tasks.
Transfer LearningTransfer learning involves applying what the robot has learned from one task to another related task. This can help improve the robot’s learning efficiency.

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of which method or methods to use may depend on the specific application, available resources, and other factors.

Human-Robot Interaction

Effective and safe interaction between robots and humans is a major challenge in robotics, and is essential for robots that are designed to work closely with people, such as assistive robots or those used in collaborative factory environments.

Here is a table detailing the different challenges of this interaction:

Understanding CommandsRobots must be able to understand commands given by humans. This can include voice, gesture or written commands. It requires advanced natural language processing and image recognition algorithms.
Appropriate ReactionOnce a command is received and understood, the robot must be able to execute it appropriately. This may require the ability to perform a wide range of tasks and solve problems autonomously.
Physical SafetyRobots that interact with humans must be designed and programmed for safety. They must be able to avoid movements that could injure people and to respond safely in an emergency.
Social InteractionFor some applications, such as health care or personal assistance, robots may need social skills. This may include the ability to recognize and express emotions or to understand social norms.

These challenges require a unique set of technologies and skills. For example, understanding human commands may require the use of artificial intelligence techniques for natural language processing and image recognition. Physical security, on the other hand, may require specialized sensors to detect the presence of humans, as well as control algorithms to avoid dangerous movements. Finally, social interaction may require understanding human emotions, which is an active area of research in AI.

Motion control

Motion control is a crucial aspect of dexterity in robotics. It concerns the ability of a robot to move with precision and coordination, performing a range of actions from simply moving from point A to point B to much more complex tasks.

Here is a table describing some of the major challenges associated with motion control in robots:

StabilityThe robot must be able to maintain its stability during motion, especially when interacting with the environment or performing complex movements. This can be especially difficult for bípedian robots, which must constantly balance their weight.
AccuracyThe robot must be able to move with a high level of precision, especially when performing delicate movements or when interacting with small or fragile objects. Precision is also crucial in applications such as robotic surgery.
CoordinationIf the robot has multiple limbs or effectors (such as hands or fingers), it must be able to coordinate the movement of these parts smoothly and efficiently. This is especially important when the robot is manipulating objects or performing tasks that require simultaneous use of multiple limbs.
NavigationThe robot must be able to effectively navigate through its environment, avoiding obstacles and achieving desired goals. This requires an advanced sensory perception system and path planning algorithms.
AdaptabilityThe robot must be able to adapt its movement to new situations or changes in the environment. This may include adapting to uneven terrain, processing new commands, or reacting to unexpected objects or people.

Motion control is an active field of research in robotics, with many researchers working to develop new algorithms and technologies to improve robot mobility and agility. This would include improvements in sensory perception, machine learning, robot design, and other areas.

Each of these challenges represents an area of active research in robotics, with researchers working to develop new technologies and algorithms to overcome these barriers. The combination of these advances will continue to push the limits of what robots are capable of doing.

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