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"I prefer working by artificial light."
- Isaac Asimov

Microhands  
  Mechanical replica of hands, that mimic the movements of actual human hands.  

Very clever story that seems to anticipate lots of other references by Raymond Z. Gallun and Robert Heinlein, among others.

A thought occurred to me.

Is it possible to convey the movement of my hands, the movement of each of my ten fingers in full accuracy, but a hundred times smaller?

...I will make small hands, an exact copy of mine even though they will be at least twenty, thirty times smaller, but they will have flexible fingers, like mine, they will clench into a fist, unbend, become the same positions as my living hands. And I made them. Not only that, with the fine work of the watchmaker, I equipped them with a mechanism that moved my fingers, these little puppet fingers, exactly on my orders. I led all this management to gloves, to special gloves. I put these gloves on my hands, and my slightest movement was transmitted to the puppet handles with a whole network of wires: I will squeeze the right fist - the right handle is squeezed into a small cam. I will take back the whole left hand - creeps back and a small left hand. They were only twenty times smaller than my living hands, and they repeated all my movements in a small form.

From Microhands (Микроруки), by Boris Zhitkov.
Published by Not known in 1931
Additional resources -

Zhitkov also takes the next step! Micro hands... for his microhands:

...But the thought suddenly struck me: I can make micro hands to my little hands. I can make the same gloves for them as I did for my living hands, use the same system to connect them to the handles ten times smaller than my micro arms, and then ... I will have real micro arms, they will chop my movements two hundred times. With these hands I will burst into such a smallness of life that they have only seen, but where no one else has disposed of their own hands. And I got to work.

What was it like to see him at work?

...My friend found me when I was working empty-handed in the air with microscopes in my eyes, and wanted to run after the doctor.

Compare these ideas to the microrobot from The Scarab (1936) by Raymond Z. Gallun, the ultra-microrobot from Menace in Miniature (1937) also by Gallun, waldo from Waldo (1942) by Robert Heinlein, the golden shuttles from The Mechanical Mice (1941) by Maurice Hugi, the autofac nanorobots from Autofac (1955) by Philip K. Dick, the nanomachine swarm from The Invincible (1954) by Stanislaw Lem, the Christmas Bush robot from Rocheworld by Robert Forward and the robot cells from Robot City (1987) by Michael Kube-McDowell.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Microhands (Микроруки)
  More Ideas and Technology by Boris Zhitkov
  Tech news articles related to Microhands (Микроруки)
  Tech news articles related to works by Boris Zhitkov

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