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May 29, 2019

Sensor-packed glove learns signatures of the human grasp

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, robotics/AI

Wearing a sensor-packed glove while handling a variety of objects, MIT researchers have compiled a massive dataset that enables an AI system to recognize objects through touch alone. The information could be leveraged to help robots identify and manipulate objects, and may aid in prosthetics design.

The researchers developed a low-cost knitted glove, called “scalable tactile glove” (STAG), equipped with about 550 tiny sensors across nearly the entire hand. Each sensor captures pressure signals as humans interact with objects in various ways. A processes the signals to “learn” a dataset of pressure-signal patterns related to specific objects. Then, the system uses that dataset to classify the objects and predict their weights by feel alone, with no visual input needed.

In a paper published in Nature, the researchers describe a dataset they compiled using STAG for 26 common objects—including a soda can, scissors, tennis ball, spoon, pen, and mug. Using the dataset, the system predicted the objects’ identities with up to 76 percent accuracy. The system can also predict the correct weights of most objects within about 60 grams.

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