Georgia Tech Researchers Create Touch-Sensitive Robotic Arm

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA) found a new way to give robots a sense of touch. In a paper published in the April edition of the International Journal of Robotics Research, scientists describe a robot arm that was able to 'touch' objects when used in conjunction with electronic vision.

Differentiating between objects by touch can be a challenging endeavor. As one Georgia Tech researcher notes, many people have trouble identifying coins in their pockets only by feel. A touch-sensitive robot could be used for rescue missions, routine hospital tasks, rehabilitation, surgery and more.

In a video produced by the Georgia Tech group, a disabled man has his mouth wiped and blanket adjusted by a robot arm. Participants in the study reported that the touch of the robot was not uncomfortable.

As of now, the published paper only describes a few uses for the device. However, researchers will give a detailed presentation on potential uses of the technology at the International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics in Seattle, June 24-26.

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