Robotic limbs can be designed to look and function like organic limbs or be designed to do specific tasks that no known living organism can do. This section will focus on hands.

SteveRobinsononCanadarm2 HoldingLegoAstronaut

The differences between Robotic and Human hands is reducing all the time as we develop more humanoid robots and robotic limbs for humans that require them. However some robot hands are not designed to be like human hands, such as the Canadarm2 arm on the International Space station.

Muscles are used to provide the strength for motion, these expand and contract causing motion for organic life, robots can immitate this using Motors which turn clockwise and anticlockwise and are especially useful for circular motion such as wheels and pullies. When more strength is required Hydraulic Cylinders, which also expand and contract causing motion, are used, these can be seen in construction vehicles.

Tendons connect the muscles to the skeleton or exoskeletons of organic creatures, and ligaments connect the bones together. Robots and machines can relicate this using Gears, axles, pullies and levers, where the motion of a motor can be transfered into different types of motion.  As we develop new technologies plastic tendons and ligaments are replacing more traditional mechanics, this is to replicate more organic motion.

Bones provide the Physical Structure of organisms, in mammels this strength is internal. The strength needed for a structure depends on the job it needs to do and this is very important for robots that are designed to do specific roles. Robots are not made from bone, but have physical sructure which can be made from lots of different matterials to do different tasks.

Organic organisms are full of nerves to provide the ability for life to feel and provide safety information, from catching a ball to typing a letter, many tasks we do every day would be more difficult without our ability to feel what we are doing, you can test this by wearing thick gloves and trying to do every day jobs. Our ability to feel also protects us from holding objects that are too sharp, hot or cold. Sensors and wires do the job in a Robot, connecting touch, temperature and other sensors to the processing unit (Brain) of the robot. However where organic organists mostly only have the ability to feel pressure and temperature a robot can be made to sense many other things, for example radiation or magnetic fields.

Finally organic limbs require a Blood Supply, to provide the energy for muscles and keep muscles strong and nerve cells alive. While robots do not need fuel in the way we do, they do require energy and a power supply, wires are connect pumps, sensors and motors for energy and communitcations, if strength comes from hydrolics then Hydraulic fluid and piping are also required.

Canadarm2 has Force movement sensors, these “Touch” sensors combined with its automatic imaging system “Sight” allow it to automatically and safely catch any free flying payloads. Its payloads can include Astronauts.

The Human hand works the same way, where the human eyes and hand work together to catch an object, judging its size and how delicate it is. Have you ever tried catching an egg?

Further Materials, Resources & Information

Below you will find more resources and external websites related to this lesson.



Dr James Davies MP Supports G2G Communities “I am very proud to support G2G Communities and would like to thank you for the dedication you have shown to the community of Rhyl, the outreach work also ensures that the benefits of this organisation are not only felt in Rhyl but throughout the Vale of Clwyd. It is encouraging to see that you are able to target the most hard to reach members of the community and offer them opportunities they may not have had access to or felt able to engage with previously.” – Read the full article >


Sandie on the New Skills, New Life Course “I have only been at G2G Communities for a short time but have gained valuable experience in computer skills. All the staff has been friendly and helpful. It has not only improved my computer skills, but has also helped me with my own self confidence. If anyone was to ask if doing this course was worth it I would certainly encourage them to do it.” – Read the full article >


Liam on the Emergency First Aid Course “The Emergency First Aid Course was a very useful option as it only lasted one day and gained me a qualification which lasts 3 years. The tutoring was very good and grabbed my attention all the way through. I would recommend this course to anyone who is given the option to do it, 10 out of 10” – Read the full article >


Charles on The New Skills, New Life Course “I have learned a lot here, all the one to one support has helped me learn quicker and better, any problems I have had they sit down with me and talk it over, which personally I find easier to handle rather than someone standing in front of a class and just dictating to me. This course has helped me to get job interviews, has given me confidence to ask questions and get answers, I am very glad to have been on this course.” – Read the full article >

Style switcher RESET
Body styles
Color settings
Link color
Menu color
User color
Background pattern
Background image
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-795984-15', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview');