Delicate movements by robots are fairly difficult. After all, most robots are made of milled metals and death-dealing neutronium, so you can’t really pick up “egg or an electric lamp.” Using ferromagnetic materials, however, the hands made by the Department of Electricity and Electronics and the Basque Country Faculty of Science and Technology can clutch more delicately than standard robotic hands and have more range of movement thanks to softer metals.
As regards magnetic and ferromagnetic shape memory alloys, the UPV/EHU researchers designed a device which had a precision of positioning objects to within 20 nanometres. Being a handmade device with a simple control, the researchers do not doubt that it can be improved. Moreover, it could be a serious candidate to substitute current high precision devices, given that positioning devices manufactured with ferromagnetic shape memory alloys have the great advantage that, once suitably positioned, they do not consume energy. The use of FSMA actuators could become highly important in certain applications, for example, in large-dimension telescopes that have a great number of mirrors that have to move with great precision in order to focus correctly.