Feb 2, 2024

Breakthrough could see robots with ‘fingertips’ as sensitive as humans

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

Researchers have overcome a major challenge in biomimetic robotics by developing a sensor that, assisted by AI, can slide over braille text, accurately reading it at twice human speed. The tech could be incorporated into robot hands and prosthetics, providing fingertip sensitivity comparable to humans.

Human fingertips are incredibly sensitive. They can communicate details of an object as small as about half the width of a human hair, discern subtle differences in surface textures, and apply the right amount of force to grip an egg or a 20-lb (9 kg) bag of dog food without slipping.

As cutting-edge electronic skins begin to incorporate more and more biomimetic functionalities, the need for human-like dynamic interactions like sliding becomes more essential. However, reproducing the human fingertip’s sensitivity in a robotic equivalent has proven difficult despite advances in soft robotics.

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