Robotics has advanced through the years. Now, more than ever, robots are becoming much closer in some ways to humans. A new robot could touch like humans, which brings Robotics closer to having human-like androids.
Most robots are large and bulky. That is understandable as robots have many parts. A group from Cornell University though has made a robotic hand that could almost be much like a human hand is. The group is led by Robert Shepherd, an assistant professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University and principal investigator at Organic Robotics Lab. Study author is doctoral student Huichan Zhao.
Zhao explained that the principal difference between their work and other robotic hands is that sensors in the others were placed outside it, making them bulky. The sensors in the robotic hand that has been developed by the team though is integrated within it. This would be much like how it is in the human hand. The sensors then could experience touch through the layer much like hands do when feelings are made through the skin.
Optical waveguides have been used since the 1970s, according to the Cornell University site. Earlier ones though were complicated to make. The newer ones have been made through 3D printing. This has made optical waveguides that are more flexible for robotic applications.
The robotic hand has an LED and photodiode, as Science Daily reports. Shepherd has described how it works. If no light was lost when the hand was bent, then no information was received by the sensors. This is generally how the robotic hand can have a sense of touch.
Using this method of optoelectronic prosthesis, the robotic hand has been able to touch and grasp tomatoes. Through this, the hand was able to know which of them was the ripest. Robotics has come a long way from being just bulky parts. Now a new robot could touch like humans. A robot has also been made that can jump very high.