Friday , November 27 2020

This electronic glove can give the robots a human sense of touch

Boston: Scientists at Stanford have developed an electronic gauntlet containing sensors that one day give robotic hands to the human sense of touch and dexterity.

In a study published in the journal Science Robotics, researchers have shown that the sensors work well enough to allow a robotic hand to touch a delicate grain and handle a ping pong ball without crushing it.

"This technology puts us on the path to one day, giving the robots the kind of sensory abilities found in human skin," said Zhean Bao of Stanford University in the United States.

Ginger sensor sensors simultaneously measure the intensity and direction of pressure, two qualities that are essential to achieving manual dexterity, researchers say.

They still need to refine the technology to automatically control these sensors, but when they do, the robot carrying the glove may have dexterity to hold an egg between the thumb and forefinger without crashing or letting it slide.

The electronic glove imitates the way the layers of human skin work together to give our hands extraordinary sensitivity.

human touch

Our outer layer of skin is soaked with sensors to detect pressure, heat and other stimuli, the researchers said. Our fingers and hands are especially rich in touch sensors.

Post-doctoral scientist Clementine Butree and student master Mark Negre led the development of electronic sensors that mimic this human mechanism.

Each finger sensor on the robotic glove consists of three flexible layers that work in concert.

The top and bottom layers are electrically active. Researchers put a grid of electric lines on each of the two surfaces, like rows in a field, and turned those rows perpendicularly to one another to create a dense set of small pixel sensors.

They also made the lower layer uneven as the spinosheet.

To test their technology, researchers put their three-layer sensors on the fingers of a rubber glove and put the glove on a robotic hand.

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Ultimately, the goal is to integrate sensors directly into a skin-like coating for robotic hands.

In one experiment, they programmed the glove, carrying a robotic hand, to touch a tender grain without damaging it. They also program the hand with gloves to lift and move the ping pong ball without crushing it, using the sensor to find the appropriate shear force to catch the ball without loosening it.

With the right programming, a robotic hand carrying the current gauntlet that can feel the touch can perform a repetitive task, such as lifting the eggs from the conveyor belt and placing them in cardboard boxes.

The technology can also be used in robot-assisted operations where precise touch control is needed.

The ultimate goal, however, is to develop a sophisticated version of the glove that automatically applies only the exact amount of force to safely handle an object without pre-programming.

"We can program a robotic hand to touch raspberries without crushing it, but we are far from being able to touch and find that it is raspberries and allow the robot to pick it up," Bao said.

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