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The Center for Engineering Design at the University of Utah, and the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a robotic end effector intended to function as a general purpose research tool for the study of machine dexterity. The high performance, multifingered hand will provide two important capabilities. First, it will permit the experimental investigation of basic concepts in manipulation theory, control system design and tactile sensing. Second, it will expand understanding required for the future design of physical machinery and will serve as a "test bed" for the development of tactile sensing systems. The paper includes: 1) a discussion of issues important to the development of manipulation machines; 2) general comments regarding design of the Utah/M.I.T. Dextrous Hand; and, 3) a detailed discussion of specific subsystems of the hand.