This week researchers at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering have published a study in Frontiers in Neurorobotics, explaining that specially designed robots can be taught to feel with the sense of touch with even more accuracy than humans.
Its hoped the new technology can be used to help advance prostheses, personal assistive robots and consumer product testing. The new tactile sensor has been designed to mimic the human finger, and is even equipped with fingerprints that enhance the sensor’s sensitivity to vibration.
The finger-sized BioTac sensor is made up of a soft, flexible skin cover, with a liquid filling. As the sensor slides over a surface it is able to vibrate in characteristic ways. Which are then detected via a hydrophone microphone located within the sensor’s bone-like core. Hydronephone microphones have been designed to be used originally underwater.
The latest BioTac sensor can currently correctly identify a randomly selected material from a sample range of 117 common materials, 95 percent of the time. More information on the new technology is available from the Neuroscience website.
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