If you are interested in what we are doing, please sign up on our website: www.dextarobotics.com
Who are we?
We are a group of hardcore roboticists, with talents in mechanical engineering, computer science, software engineering, embedded systems, communications, design, and web & app development.
On March 26 2014, we founded Dexta Robotics, a robotics start-up that focuses on developing high quality but affordable robotics hardware that lowers the boundary of robotics and virtual reality. We believe that there is a lot of great talent in your creative minds; a lot of interesting projects you want to do. But it can be really expensive and hard to build your own robotics hardware. Our goal is to build this bridge for you.
A year ago, we noticed the lack of affordable hand motion capturing devices in the field of robotics and VR, so we started Project Dexmo. To further increase the sense of immersion, we also started developing ways of adding the force feedback on top of the exoskeleton system. Long story short, after 17 iterations and over 12 force feedback implementation tests, we are proud to say that Dexmo is finally ready for release.
As for our production ability, we are fully aware that a lot of very successful kickstarter hardware projects fail when it comes to production because they only start seeking manufacturing partners after they get the money. At Dexta Robotics, we do it a bit differently. We applied the principle of DFM (Designed-for-manufacturing), meaning we talk with our manufacturing partners before we design our hardware, including Dexmo. We understand what designs are easier and less expensive to produce and what designs should be avoided to reach minimum manufacturing difficulty. We can't guarantee that everything goes perfectly smoothly, but we will certainly try our best to deliver on time.
So far, Dexmo has been covered by:
For media inquiries, please shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and get our press kit.
Live testing and demo of Dexmo controlling Unity hand and Handuino at Oculus Connect and VRPlay China.
Thank you all for testing and commenting on our products!
Palmer Luckey tested it too; however, according to Oculus’s policy, he can’t comment on the device. But just look at him:
What is Dexmo?
Dexmo comes in two forms: Dexmo Classic and Dexmo F2.
Dexmo Classic is a wearable mechanical exoskeleton that captures 11 Degrees of your hand motion.
It senses three degrees of freedom of motion for the thumb, and both the split and bending of the other four fingers. One embedded IMU sensor will allow Dexmo to also output its orientation along x,y,z axis.
(A video of dexmo working with Razer Hydra)
Dexmo F2 provide you with digital force feedback (on/off only) for your index finger and thumb that allows you to feel a digital object on top of hand motion capturing. We managed to combined all that into one single device.
Dexmo F2 achieves feedback by braking the joint using our patent pending technology: a miniaturized joint gear-disk braking mechanism.
When a collision is detected(either by the collision detector in a program or by a pressure sensor in real life), a signal is sent back to the device, then the actuators activate and brake the joint, the exoskeleton locks, preventing the finger from further bending inwards, thus creating a normal force on the user’s fingertip.
Here is a video showing how the force feedback unit operates.
What can you do with Dexmo
Dexmo can be used for controlling a robotic hand, also providing you with a better sense of presence by simulating a force feedback when an object is hit..
or controlling a robotic arm,
or something a little be more advanced..Like controlling double robotic arms performing a remote bomb disposal task.
For VR developers and Gamers:
With Dexmo F2, we can take VR to its next level, it adds a sense of touch to gaming and now you can now feel the size of a digital Object. (However please note it provides digital force feedback, meaning on and off only, you can't feel softness, yet.)
Dexmo will come with some out of the box example game for you to play with. So even if you are a gamer with no experience in programming, you can still use dexmo, and you will be one of the first group of gamers to explore the possibly-next-gen gaming experiences.
or sizes of other different objects,
You can interact with the digital world more naturally, without the limit of space since Dexmo is wireless
or play everybody's favorite game: the Surgeon Simulator.
For Makers and Artist
The 11 channels of the analog output of Dexmo can be used to control a lot of things.
You could use Dexmo for hacking all sorts of RC devices. The picture above shows a modified RC tank being control by Dexmo. (We took apart its original controller and wired it to a micro-controller and Bluetooth receiver.)
From as simple as lighting control.
to as complex as tuning music for music production,
or interactive art.
With appropriate position tracking methods, you can also use Dexmo to play a virtual piano.
Or other very useful tasks like translating sign languages. (The above demo was only for demonstration purposes. so we only wrote the program to recognize this one line.)
Futuristic: due to its exoskeleton nature, we couldn't make it small, so we made it cool. (We've removed photorealistic rendering images of the industrial design due to Kickstarter rules. However, we are actually working on that deisgn.)
Robust: It doesn't break easily, and it works even next to a strong magnetic field because Dexmo does not use magnetometer.
Affordable: Instead using of expensive sensors like IMUs and flex sensors, Dexmo uses inexpensive rotational sensors, along with injection molded plastic parts, the cost of the device can be greatly reduced.
Dexterous: Dexmo has a special curved exoskeleton design to ensure it doesn't block any of your hand motion, so you can make a fist, or split your fingers even while wearing it.
Wireless: It transmits data though Bluetooth serial ports, you can easily hook it up to your computer and mobile devices.
For roboticists and makers, you can get the raw data from Dexmo using our provided Arduino library. Or you can also use our Dexmo SDK from your host computer.
For VR developers, Dexmo comes with a very easy to use SDK, which contains a few examples with our built-in hand regeneration algorithms that help you pick it up easily. You can use Dexmo along with any positioning tracking methods of your will, and Dexmo also provides special support examples for perception neurons by Noitom and the STEM system by Sixense.
CEO & CTO of Sixense at Oculus connect. After OC, we met again at one of Sixense's offices in Los Gatos.
We are very good friends with the Team Perception Neuron ( Noitom) as well, and have visited their headquarters in Beijing multiple times to discuss about our further cooperation.
If you still haven't got your perception neurons, click the link below for registration.
The advantage of using Dexmo with Perception neurons is that, you only need the 10 pps kit to have a full upper body motion tracking, since a pair of dexmo can do the job of 14 pps for your hand motion capturing.
An early stage test of Dexmo with Perception Neurons will be posted soon.
Dexmo also works with various optical solutions; however, special support is not included by Dexmo SDK, so we will leave this for you to explore :)
Development of Dexmo
In the past year we have developed 17 prototypes of Dexmo and tackled countless problems, and now we are finally proud to say that Dexmo is ready for release.
Here is a brief history of how Dexmo was developed.
We are a group of hardcore roboticists, with talents in mechanical engineering, computer science, software engineering, embedded systems, communications, design, and web & app development. So far we have five engineers: Aler Gu(谷逍驰), Frank Zhang(张逸飞), Rijn Bian(卞远哲), Annan Ma(马安南), Weize Sun(孙维泽).
Please also allow us to briefly introduce our partners as well.
XIVO Design Firm(+-△○ ):
XIVO was founded by three super creative Industrial designers that had each won a Red-dot design award and a lot of other design awards. They are very passionate about designing. The designers for Dexmo was listed above.
Rone Design Firm:
With over 16 and 20 years of experience respectively, the CEO and MD manager of Rone Design Firm will be assisting on Dexmo's production, employing a strong team of structure engineers.
Risks and challenges
We met a lot of obstacles during our design phase, thankfully we overcome all of them after all. Just to give you an idea, here are a few out of the hundreds of problems we met:
1. The fitting problem:
Making a wearable product is hard. Different people have hands of different sizes, if Dexmo is not designed properly, people will feel very uncomfortable wearing it. We spent a lot of time an energy to over come this issue, by using the replaceable linkage bars, open hand design along with adjustable strips, Dexmo can fit your hand perfectly.
2. Miniaturized braking system :
Force feedback was a big issue, we started with a frictional braking design and it was very hard to find a motor with the right torque and size we needed. So we started exploring other methods of creating force feedback, at the same time, we talked to a lot of manufacturers to verify the capital needed to make them, and to make sure the small pieces we designed can be made.
3. The hand model generation algorithm: We spend a lot of time to work out the proper kinematics for finger motion regeneration. A lot of tests were done to improve the motion of our hand model, so they look more natural.
4. Is it true that the more data you get the better? As you may have noticed, in our past prototypes, a few actually look rather bigger than our latest Dexmo. They were built for testing the essence of knowing the exact end coordinate of you hands. Dexmo Beta had 16 DOF(5 more than the current Dexmo), and it has a full linkage design that goes all the way to the tip of your finger. With all the information of that kinematics chain, we can deduce the end position in terms of coordinates. However, we then realized it isn't that essential to have those data even though we could. Reason being, is that we are actually only using our hands to control and avatar hand with a fixed size, so we came back to the design of 11DOF dexmo.
- (30 days)