Gentle as robot’s hand?

Gentle as robot’s hand?

It sounds like an oxymoron, but maybe – thanks to Xiaodong Chen form Nanyang Technological University in Singapore – robotic hands will be able to be gentle.

Recognising and grasping different objects for robots hands usually requires complex programming and processing power. And still is not easy. It is extremely hard for robots to pick up soft fruit from bad without crushing others or select a specific item out of a pile.

Researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a new way for robots to store information from touch. Sensors embedded in a flexible, artificial skin can store changes in electrical resistance when force is applied to an object. A thin memory device stores a digital impression of those changes for up to a week. The sensors work like our haptic memory, which can store impressions of touch sensations in the brain after the stimulus has stopped. The sensors could store information to help robots recognise their environment and moderate their grip strength to pick up different things, and to be delicate to avoid damaging things like fruit. Chen believes that it would be also possible for android robot to shake hands differently – in accordance with a personal handshake of the human, robot encounters.

Innovation is important not only because of the possibility to help robot develop gentle touch, but also because storing information in sensors the robot’s main processors are available to focus on other tasks.

Siegfried Bauer at the Johannes Kepler University Linz in Austria thinks this approach has potential.

Imagine gripping soft objects, such as strawberries: here it is essential to know the contact forces of a robotic gripper.

Source: popularmechanics.com, newscientist.com

fot:pixabay.com

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