Tactile Sensors Add the Perfect 'Touch' to Prostheses
By incorporating the right sensors and software, robots can be given the ability to identify different materials by touch. A specially designed robot even outperformed humans in identifying a wide range of natural materials according to their textures, in a recent study by research from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. This could pave the way for advancements in prostheses, personal assistive robots, and consumer product testing.
The robot was equipped with a new type of tactile sensor built to mimic the human fingertip. It also used a newly designed algorithm to make decisions about how to explore the outside world by imitating human strategies. Capable of other human sensations, the sensor can also tell where and in which direction forces are applied to the fingertip, as well as the thermal properties of an object being touched.
This robot-touch technology could be used in human prostheses or to assist companies that employ experts to assess the feel of consumer products and even human skin.
Also: Read about a sensory feedback system for a prosthetic hand.