One more example of how technology is making robots much more human-like. But what's the business benefit of having a robot develop a sense of touch? Are there specific applications where this kind of added capability would be useful?
Beth, I can think of one right off the bat from some groups I have been talking to. The application is automated product inspection. This is done now with vision systems. Adding a tactile sensor to the inspection system would be useful in a lot of situations. Presently, we use vision systems to evaluate texture of surfaces. This could be tuned to be more accurate.
The main applications mentioned by the researchers are giving industrial robots a finer sense of touch for distinguishing more easily and quickly among objects they handle, as well as prosthetic hands for people.
naperlou thanks, those are good examples of how this technology could supplement existing inspection technology. Same goes for various robotic handling and sorting functions, some of which also already use machine vision and could be supplemented by robots with a sense of touch.
Nice article and video, Ann. As the narrator notes, ultimately, the data from the robotic touch has to get between the ears of the user. I would think there is a wide range of uses for this technology.
Future generations of this sensor, combined with sensors for temperature and pressure will give a very close approximation of human sensorium. Whatever sort of actuators available at that time (Festo does have some interesting ones now) will provide movement. Detxerous, sensing fingers are the result. Sensors and actuators will likely be connected to a local network router in order to simplify the trunks feeding back to the central core of the robot.
Human-like manipulators will make for very, very useful general-purpose robots, ones that don't need custom tooling to perform a job.
Ann, a few years ago, doctors at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago were talking about adding touch to prosthetic limbs. I wonder if this would make it easier to do that, or if it would even be possible to send the signals from this finger to the human brain.
This looks like an intersting development in sensors, but, beyond the $15000 cost of the development kit, you're going to have to invest a lot of time towards developing algorithms to interpret the sensor signals.
From an automated grapsing perspective, I can imagine a system that uses the BioTac signals to detect slippage of a grasped object and automatically tighten the gripping force to compensate. This would allow lower grasping forces in mobile robot manipulation tasks where overly tight grasping is the norm.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.