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Aaron Dollar, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Yale, has invented a robot with a soft touch. His plastic hand is deft enough to grasp a wide variety of objects without damaging them. What's more, it's cheaper and requires less processing power than the metal hands typically used in robots.
Dollar's design uses plastic fingers that can lightly brush against an object--whether it's a wine glass, beach ball, or telephone--before firming up their grip. Few researchers have used soft plastic inr obotics before, partly because it can be difficult to shape small,precise parts out of such materials.
Harvard affiliated honorees included Alán Aspuru-Guzik in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Kim Hazelwood '04 (Ph.D.).
Other recent TR35 winners from SEAS include Robert Wood, Donhee Ham, and Erez Lieberman. SEAS affiliate Kurt Zenz House '08, who worked with faculty member Michael Aziz, also received the honor.
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