Robots Get All Touchie-Feelie

A breakthrough new technology is giving robots a softer side: it’s giving them the ability to reproduce tactile senses.  This is pretty serious stuff, and the uses for the new technology are far and wide, as the below-linked article explains. 

Super-sweet stuff, this:

Science & Technology at Scientific Robotics Sensor Images the Sense of Touch

The device, a so-called electroluminescent thin film, glows in response to applied pressure. The result is a finely detailed image of the texture of any object that touches the film. Designers Vivek Maheshwari and Ravi Saraf of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln demonstrated this effect by pressing a penny against the device (see image). Because the sensor produces data in the form of an optical image, the data can be quickly and easily collected by simply photographing the image. This represents a major step forward in the ease and efficiency of collecting information from tactile sensors. Quick data collection is critical to performing real-time tasks, for example grasping a tool with a robotic arm. If the tool starts to slip, the image produced by the electroluminescent film immediately shows the tool’s motion, and the robot?s grip can then be adjusted to prevent it from falling.

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By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.