NASA and GM's last collaboration was the recently deployed Robonaut. But the two are teaming up again to develop a robotic glove that will make working with heavy tools in space, or on an assembly line, a lot easier.
The Human Grasp Assist device, or K-glove, or Robo-Glove (they really need to make up their minds), uses pressure sensors in the fingertips that automatically tighten actuators in the fingers, providing extra grip. Without the glove an astronaut or assembly worker might need to exert 7-10 kilograms of force to grip a tool, but while wearing it that would be reduced to 2-5 kilograms. And that leads to less fatigue in the hands, allowing them to work longer.
The current prototype weighs in at 1kg, which of course is 1kg more than the wearer has to lift while using the glove. So GM and NASA are working to make it lighter and sleeker so it's less cumbersome to wear. Now all they need to do is finish the rest of the body so the Iron Man suit can be a reality. [GM via SlashGear]