Mantis Haptic Robot Arm Is Simple Enough For Anyone To Use

Researchers at the University of Bristol have designed a new robot arm that could be the low cost and easy to use the robotic device of the future. The team calls the robot arm Mantis, and it was designed to offer a lightweight, affordable, and accessible haptic force feedback device. Haptic feedback aims to simulate the sense of touch.

The team says that theoretically, Mantis could be built and used by anyone from a secondary school student on up. The team says that the cost to build Mantis would be about 20 times less than the expense of other equivalent devices.

The reason Mantis can be built so cheaply is that it uses components like brushless motors that cost much less than high-fidelity equivalents that are typically confined to a research lab. Project Mantis is supported by a new spin-out venture called Senmag Robotics that helps researchers to progress their design to market. The goal is to start with production and testing of the first kits to be ready for release by the end of the year.

The project team says that gamers could use Mantis attached to their fingers to allow them to play a virtual reality game. Mantis would allow them to touch and feel virtual objects to immerse themselves visually and physically in an alternative dimension.

Researcher Gareth Barnaby says that the team will be giving out the plans to allow anyone to build Mantis. Barnaby says that the team is keen to make force feedback devices more widespread and not confine them to research labs. They also plan to offer easy to build kits and pre-built versions on their website.