Robots Could Get a Sense of Touch

According to a story from the BBC News, “Robots of the future could have fingertips as sensitive as those of people, new research suggests.  Researchers at the Universities of Edinburgh and Sheffield have been examining the way our brains interpret our senses.  They connected artificial mouse whiskers to a robotic brain to see how the brain processes information relayed by sense of touch.”  

The connection between robots and biology is one that I find fascinating, so this article just had to be a post on RobotNext.  Robots that have a human capability of touch could revolutionize many areas of automation.  Next generation robots will likely have this advanced touch sense.  With this ability, robotic surgery may find new uses as the surgeons might be able to actually feel what the robot feels.  Another use is in the area of prosthetics.  Imagine Dean Kamen’s “Luke Arm” with this sense of touch.   The nature connection here is that this idea came from the study of mouse whiskers.  When objects brush against the whiskers on a mouse, nerve impulses are sent to the brain and interpreted there.  Sensory information can be processed by the brain to determine the direction of movement of the object.  In this case, artificial whiskers were used and the brain just happens to be that of a robot.  The robot was able to learn to interpret the movements.  Read the complete article at the links below.

Credit:  BBC News

'Whiskers' may help robots touch
BBC News
The scientists found that when objects were brushed against the whiskers, the robot brain learned how to interpret the whisker movement according to its
and more »

'Whiskers' may help robots touch – BBC News
(author unknown)
Mon, 26 Oct 2009 01:14:40 GMT

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