Here is an artificial muscle robot hand that could eventually be used as a prosthetic replacement for a human hand. The "bones" are 3d printed in PLA and the silicone rubber artificial muscles and skin were cast in 3d printed molds.
While most makers are not likely to want do duplicate this hand, some of the techniques used here might be found to be useful for other kinds of robots and casting.
Intro pic shows the hand holding a raspberry.
At this point, the soft robot fingers are a bit wobbly. I am working on adding an arm that will have room for more hand muscles. They would use tendons to open the fingers and balance the grasping muscles. This should stabilize the fingers and give a more natural movement.
The short video shows some of the movements of the robot hand.
Step 1: How It Works
This is an air powered hand that uses silicone artificial muscles as actuators. They are powered by compressed air. This gives it a soft touch that is much more human friendly than most robot hands. The artificial muscles are also very inexpensive to produce compared to traditional gear motors and servos.
Ideally, the whole thing would be printed completely in a 3d printer that printed a hard plastic and a soft rubber that holds air pressure. Since I have no access to such a machine, the soft silicone parts had to be cast in 3d printed molds.
This is an open source project. Version 1.0 is mainly a proof of concept--prototype and there is lots of room for improvements. While not near as strong as a human hand, it is strong enough to hold a cup of coffee or carry a briefcase.