Dexterous Hand

Shadow Dexterous Hand™ – Now available for purchase!


With the Shadow Dexterous Hand, we have taken a truly anthropomorphic approach to robot manipulation. With 20 actuated degrees of freedom, absolute position and force sensors, and ultra sensitive touch sensors on the fingertips, the hand provides unique capabilities for problems that require the closest approximation of the human hand currently possible.

The Shadow Dexterous Hand uses industry standard interfaces and can be used as a tele-operation tool or mounted on a range of robot arms as part of a robot system.

See the hand in action on our YouTube channel or media collection.

Looking for our tech specs? You can download the Shadow Dexterous Hand Tech Spec E2 Series




Key Features

Human Kinematics

Approximating the kinematics of the human hand was our top priority when developing the Dexterous Hand. The Hand has 20 actuated degrees of freedom and a further 4 under-actuated movements for total of 24 joints. Each joint has a movement range again the same as or very close to that of a human hand, including the thumb and even the flex of the palm for the little finger. A model of the Shadow Hand for use in Blender was developed by Shadow and UPMC and is available from here.

Human Sized

The Shadow Dexterous Hand is a feat of miniaturisation. Within the same envelope as a human hand we have packed highly sensed finger tips, absolute position sensors for each joint and a control board on the palm allowing for system extension via add-ons. This increases operational capabilities significantly such as by wearing standard gloves for protection in specific tasks.


High Bandwidth Sensing

With 129 sensors in total, the Hand provides detailed telemetry, which can be exploited to generate innovative manipulation control systems or to provide detailed understanding of the external environment. As well as absolute position sensing for each joint the Hand includes force sensing for each actuator, tactile sensing on fingertips, temperature and motor current and voltage sensing. All of this data is made available to the user from 100Hz and up to 1kHz via a high bandwidth EtherCAT interface. Supporting this high frequency for data is the fast movement of the hand – from open to closed in 0.5 seconds.

Open Platform

The Hand is fully integrated with ROS, and we make available solid models and code. You can download and start using a virtual model of the Hand in ROS right now.  Control of the Hand, including position control algorithms can be modified by the user in ROS. Firmware within the Hand itself can be made available for modification.


BioTac Tactile Sensor (optional)

For applications requiring highly detailed sensing capabilities Shadow has partnered with SynTouch LLC to make available the revolutionary BioTac tactile sensor in a package especially designed for the Shadow Hand. BioTac sensors can be added to all fingers and allows detailed force, micro-vibration and temperature gradient sensing. Data from the BioTac sensors is fully integrated and available via the same EtherCAT interface as other sensors.


If you’d like to get in touch with us right away, please email or fill out this contact form.