BioTac Robot's Finger More Sensitive Than Yours
The BioTac robotic finger created by USC roboticists is so sensitive it can identify materials by touch - and do it better than you!
(Amazing robotic touch sensitivity)
The robotic finger's design mimics a real human pinky. So it's got a soft, flexible skin with a fingerprint-like surface, which is wrapped over a liquid filling.
As the finger slides over a textured surface, the skin vibrates. These telltale shudders are detected by a hydrophone inside the core of the finger, and software then matches those vibrations to materials it has on file.
The robot was trained on 117 common materials, sourced from fabric, stationery and hardware shops. That includes textures like paper, wood and sponge.
When confronted with random materials, the robot would make a number of intelligently-selected exploratory movements (like rubs, wiggles and pokes) before identifying the material. It got the answer right 95 percent of the time.
This development in real-life robotics reminds me of the fictional synthetic flesh used on robots like teddy from Brian Aldiss' 1969 novel Super-Toys Last All Summer Long:
"There have been mechanicals on the market with mini-computers for brains - plastic things without life, super-toys - but we have at last found a way to link computer circuitry with synthetic flesh..."
"Our serving-man will be, in many senses, a product of the computer. Without computers, we could never have worked through the sophisticated biochemics that go into synthetic flesh."
Update 23-Jun-2015: Sensitive robot fingers were predicted by science fiction writers in 1931. Read this excerpt from The Exile of Time by the great Ray Cummings:
We had gone no more than a hundred feet or so when Migul [the robot] slowed our pace, and began to walk stooped over, with one of its abnormally long arms held close to the ground. The fingers were stiffly outstretched and barely skimmed the floor surface of the tunnel. As we passed through a spot of light I saw that Migul had extended from each of the fingertips an inch-long filament of wire, like finger nails.
The Robot murmured abruptly, "Tugh's vibrations are here. I can feel them. He has passed this way recently..."
"He passed here an hour or two ago, perhaps. The vibrations are fading out. But it was Tugh. Well do I know him. Put your hand down. Feel the vibrations?"
"I cannot. My fingers are not that sensitive, Migul."
A faint contempt was in the Robot's tone. "I forgot that you are a man." Then it straightened, and the extended filaments slid back into its fingers.
(Read about the sensitive robot fingers)
Via Wired UK.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/20/2012)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Robot Garbage Trucks Visualized
'It was a bulky, shining cylinder over twenty metres long.' - Harry Harrison, 1956
Rippling Fin Robot Drone Swims And Walks
'... the curious parallelism to animal motions, which was so striking and disturbing to the human beholder...' - HG Wells, 1898.
Cute Teddy Bear Robot Favorite Of Hospitalized Children
'...thought had been given to its programming.' - Anne McCaffrey, 1990.
Robot Dog Learns To Be Doggy From Real Dogs
'So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets, and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.' - Anthony Boucher, 1943.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
TytoCare Offers Futuristic Home Care
'Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling...'
Powdered Regolith Propulsion
'... filling their great tanks with the finely divided dust which the ionic rockets would spit out in electrified jets.'
Ford's SafeCap, Opposite Of Niven and Barnes' Napcap
'In the napcap a client became an instant yoga master...'
Would You Get 'Chipped'? Michigan May Ban Employers
'Employees above a certain level were implanted with advanced microprocessors...'
Tesla Autopilot: What Does An Autonomous Car See When It Looks At The Road?
'Jeremiah is a sports-model to begin with and that kind is awfully hot-tempered.'
DNA Controls Swarms Of Molecular Robots
'They exist in loose swarms...'
Tether Asteroids To Save Us All
'If anything can glue the asteroids back into the planet they once were, magnology will do it.'
Blaux Your Personal Commuter Cooling Unit
A cooling unit had to be strapped to every commuter's back, by law.
3D Printed Damascus Steel Now Possible
'...lined with durite, that strange close-packed laboratory product.'
R9X Hellfire Missile With Long Blades Kills Queda Leader
'He was still roaring when the knife missile flicked past him...'
Would You Swallow An Origami Robot?
'Swallow it in an emergency--it goes down easily and works just as well inside as outside.'
Perhaps You Might Be Interested In Habitable Exoplanet Moon Real Estate
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
Blurry Face Photos Made 60 Times Sharper
Perfect tool for blade runners.
SpaceX Will Build Floating Spaceports!
'...a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves.'
Fast Radio Bursts And Space Beacons For Interstellar Navigation
'Every beacon has a code signal as part of its radiation...'
Robot Garbage Trucks Visualized
'It was a bulky, shining cylinder over twenty metres long.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories