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Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare • Jun 18, 2012

Robot To Mimic Human Fingertip & Touch - USC Viterbi Engineers

Have you ever wondered that though we have humanoids taking over the robotics arena, will they be ever be able to feel the touch sensation just like we humans do? Well, the research engineers from University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering are about to achieve this soon. They found out that with the right combination of sensors, actuators and software, robots can be get the sense of feel.

In fact, like in just about everything else, robots will now outperform humans in identifying different kind of materials by touch. Along with the folks at Loeb and Fishel who partnered with SynTouch LLC, they developed the BioTac®, a tactile sensor to mimic the human fingertip by using a soft, flexible skin over a liquid filling. They also designed an algorithm for the robot to decide where and how the forces are to be applied by the fingertip. It then recorded the thermal properties of the object being touched.

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Interestingly, they also gave the skin some fingerprints on its surface so as to increase the fingertip's sensitivity to vibration. These vibrations are detected by a hydrophone built in the finger, whenever the fingertip touches the surface.

Though the robot is very good at identifying objects with the textures (almost 95% efficiency), it still does not have a way to telling what textures people will prefer. So, the immediate applications that come to our mind are prostheses, personal assistive robots and consumer product testing. All we can say is that we are step closer to have robots feeling sensations. What do you say?

Check out the video of how Robots Get A Feel For The World from USC Viterbi :



Via: ScienceDaily

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