This Soft Robot Has A Human Touch

Posted: Dec 13 2016, 4:41am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

This Soft Robot has a Human Touch
(A) Schematic of hand structure and components; (B) image of the fabricated hand mounted on a robotic arm with each finger actuated at ΔP = 100 kPa. Credit: Cornell University
  • Novel Robotic Hand has Internal Sensors that make it Feel the World like a Human Being
 

A novel robotic hand has been made that has internal sensors that make it feel the world like a human being.

The majority of robots have grabbing and touch facilities that are brute-like in their manner of execution. The whole process is rather unwieldy and jerky.

The fact that it is all done by a robot is pretty obvious. A new method has been devised for a soft robot to touch its environmental objects in the same way as human beings do. 

The paper regarding this robot and its operations has been published in the debut edition of the journal Science Robotics. Most of the robots that are extant today have sensors on the outer surface.

These detect anything solid. Yet this new robot has sensors on the inside. This adds a whole new level of complexity and realism to the mix. The integrated sensors can feel the objects throughout the whole structure.

This is similar to the way humans and animals feel pain in the first place. Optical waveguides have been employed since the 70s. They allow sensing functions such as tactile, position and acoustic capabilities.  

Their manufacture was originally a complex process. However, the last two decades has seen soft lithography and 3D printing take over the field. This has resulted in the making of elastomeric sensors.

A four step soft lithography process allowed the production of a core through which light can pass. Also there was cladding which surrounded it. This formed the outer surface of the waveguide.

An LED and photodiode were present in the scheme of things. The more the prosthetic hand is disturbed, the more light is lost through the center. This loss of light is noticed by the photodiode and so the prosthesis can sense its surroundings. 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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