Giving robotic hands a sense of touch

Medgadget reports on research from UCLA’s Biomechatronics Lab:

While tactile sensors have been used before in order to create a rudimentary sense of touch, the UCLA team is taking this technology a step further by introducing smart algorithms to process what the sensors are feeling.

Specifically, the researchers are building a “language of touch” that can be used to help humans to intuitively operate robotic devices.

A lot of ink has been spilled lately about haptic feedback, but not so much about tactile perception. (They’re both aspects of somatic senses, but haptics relates to the perception of forces during movement.) Our robots and prosthetics will need to sense all of these things, and be able to provide feedback to the fleshy creatures on the other end.