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Researchers at MIT have created a robotic hand device that, rather than simply replacing one's grip, enhances its reach with two extra fingers. The "supernumerary robotic fingers," developed by a team led by Harry Asada in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, mimics the normal grasping motion of the hand, using sensors to determine when and how to close or position the protruding grippers.

"This is a completely intuitive and natural way to move your robotic fingers," Asada said in an MIT news release. "You do not need to command the robot, but simply move your fingers naturally. Then the robot fingers react and assist your fingers." The extra grip may be used to hold a container while lifting or stirring it, something which sufferers of arthritis or muscular dystrophy may find helpful. Work yet to be done: miniaturizing the device, and allowing it to to adjust its grip style to the usage patterns of the wearer.

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