The Minneapolis-based engineers responded by designing hand, wrist and shoulder joints with all axes powered by efficient and easy-to-maintain electric linear actuators.

Its third-generation Omni-Hand produces a wide range of humanlike motions. Its wrist is driven by timing belts and its flexible palm has an opposable thumb for grasping tools. The modular design of the robot, dubbed Robotic Surrogate III, makes it a practical research tool for engineers designing robots to work alongside humans in offices, factories, and the home.