A microhand is a miniature robotic end effector , which is a device or tool connected to the end of a robot arm. A microhand is designed to grasp, hold and manipulate objects in a manner similar to the functioning of a human hand but on a much smaller scale.
A prototype microhand developed at the University of California, made of silicon wafers, measures approximately one millimeter (1 mm ) across when its four "fingers" are closed. The moving parts are driven by pressurized gas, allowing use of the device under a variety of conditions. The device's small size and high precision have aroused interest among surgeons, who envision it as a potential tool for performing critical operations in the human body.
A sophisticated microhand may incorporate an eye-in-hand system , to enhance maneuverability and precision. Components of such a system include a camera specialized for work at distances of a fraction of a millimeter and a lamp for use in dark environments, such as the inside of blood vessels or organs. An optical fiber system transmits light for the lamp and images captured by the camera.