Bioservo is bringing NASA’s real-life Power Glove down to earth

If you’ve ever had to hold a wrench in place for any length of time exerting a decent amount of force, you know it sucks. NASA also knew it sucked, and doubly so when you’re floating in space, so they created the RoboGlove, a battery-powered force-multiplying glove that lets you add some power and longevity to your grip. Now, RoboGlove is coming to earth-bound humans thanks to Swedish exoskeleton company Bioservo Technologies.

Bioservo already creates the “SEM” or “Soft Extra Muscle” glove, which helps increase the grip of people who may have a weaker one due to injury, and does so via a soft, external sleeve instead of the bulky mechanical apparatus you might expect from indulging in too much steampunk. Bioservo will combine that tech with the RoboGlove to turn us into even more effective casual cyborgs.

Marty Linn, General Motors manager of advanced technology and principal engineer for robotics, shakes hands with Robonaut 2 (R2), a humanoid robot developed by GM and NASA during a nine-year collaboration that also led to development of the RoboGlove, an exo-muscular device that enhances strength and grip through leading-edge sensors, actuators and tendons that are comparable to the nerves, muscles and tendons in a human hand. GM is licensing the RoboGlove intellectual property to Bioservo Technologies AB, a Swedish medical technologies company that will combine RoboGlove with its owner patented SEM glove technology.

Cyber gloves will help us disguise ourselves in the coming robot apocalypse.

RoboGlove is a good fit for Bioservo because it’s dexterous enough to operate smallish tools which would frustrate bulkier outer wear. What Bioservo wants to do is make the technology practical for use in manufacturing facilities, and GM will be among the first companies to test its use in its car plants. Bioservo also continues to serve the medical rehabilitation market with the new product, and the tech will also help prevent those injuries to begin with.

“This new glove, which combines the best of three worlds namely – space technology from NASA, engineering from GM and medtech from Bioservo Technologies, is going to help to reduce repetitive stress injuries,” Bioservo Marketing Manager Anett Grusser-Pettersson tells TechCrunch. “A lot of workers do not notice when to take a break and easily end up with repetitive strain or stress injuries. This new glove will provide a way to avoid or prevent such injuries and save a lot of money for the individual but also the society as a whole.”

Bioservo’s press release doesn’t make any mention of creating superheroes, however, which is disappointing. Likely the company just doesn’t want to over-promise. We’ll just keep the superhuman applications our little secret, Bioservo.