"…we store information differently, reading a science fiction story, to make it make sense."
- Samuel R. Delany
||Sensitive Robot Fingers
||Special sensory capabilities of robotic appendages.
|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."
Tugh's trail! I knew then that Tugh's body, touching this ground, had
altered to some infinitesimal degree the floor-substance's inherent
vibration characteristics. Vibrations of every sort are communicable
from one substance to another. Tugh's trail was here--his
vibration-scent--and like a hound with his nose to the ground, Migul's
fingers with the extended filaments were feeling it. What strange
sensitivity! What an amazing development of science was manifested in
every move and act and word of this Robot! Yet, in my own Time-world
of 1935, it was all crudely presaged: this now before me was merely
"He recently passed," said Migul. We stopped, I close beside the
stooping metal figure. The Robot's voice was a furtive sepulchral
whisper that filled me with awe.
"How long ago?" I asked.
"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
"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. It said softly, "There is one guard in this passage."
|From The Exile of Time,
by Ray Cummings.
Published by Astounding Stories in 1931
Additional resources -
Compare to the chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues from This Immortal (1966) by Roger Zelazny.
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