Stanford engineers have developed an electronic glove containing sensors that one day could give robotic teeth the kind of diligence…
Stanford engineers have developed an electronic glove containing sensors that one day could give robotic teeth the kind of diligence that people take for granted. 19659002] 19659006
Stanford researchers developed skin-like sensors that enable this robot to deliver just the right pressure to lift a ping-pong ball without breaking it.
In a paper published November 21 in Science Robotics Chemical Engineer Zhenan Bao and her team showed that the sensors work well enough to allow a robothand to touch a delicate berry and handle a ping-pong bullet without squashing them.
This technique puts us on a road to a day that gives robots the kind of sensory functions found in human skin, Bao said.
Bao said that the sensors in the glove’s fingertips simultaneously measure the intensity and direction of pressure, two qualities necessary to achieve diligence. The researchers still need to improve the technology to automatically control these sensors, but when they do, a robot wearing the glove can have the skill of holding an egg between the thumb and forefinger without crushing or letting it slip.
] The electronic glove imitates how the layer of human skin cooperates to give our hands its extraordinary sensitivity.
Our outer layer of skin is penetrated by sensors to detect pressure, heat and other stimuli. Our fingers and palms are particularly rich in contactors.
These sensors work in conjunction with a skin surface called spinosum, a rugged microscopic terrain of hills and valleys.
The sensor shown in this picture is sensitive enough to allow your finger to hold a blueberries without breaking it. In the future, all fingers and palm would have similar electronic sensors that mimic the biological sensors in our skin. (Image Credits: Courtesy of Bao Lab)
The bumpiness is critical. When our finger touches an object, the outer layer moves closer to the spinosum.
A light touch is felt mainly by sensors near the hills. More intense pressure forces the outer skin into the valleys of the spinosum, triggering more intense touch sensations.
But measuring the intensity of the pressure is just a part of what the spinosum allows.
This humpy surface also helps to reveal the direction of pressure or shear force.
A finger pushing the north, for example, creates strong signals on the southern slopes of the microscopic hills.
This ability to sense shear is a part of what helps us gently hold an egg between the thumb and forefinger.
Postdoctoral candidate Clementine Boutry and master student Marc Negre led the development of the electronic sensors that mimic this human mechanism.
Each sensor on the robotic glove’s fingertip is made of three flexible layers that work in concert.
The upper and lower layers are electrically active. The researchers put a grid of electrical lines on each of the two facing surfaces, which rows in a field, and twist these rows perpendicular to each other to create a dense set of small sensing pixels.
They also made the bottom layer sturdy
Like the robot (19659002), the separate distance is because electrodes that are close without touch can store electricity.
As the robot finger depressed, squeeze the upper electrodes closer to the bottom, increased stored energy. The hills and valleys of Bottenvik gave a way to map the intensity and direction of pressure to specific points on the perpendicular boxes, much like human skin.
In order to test its technology, researchers placed their three layer sensors on a rubber glove’s fingers and put the glove on a robotic sand.
Finally, the goal is to embed sensors directly in a skin-like coverage for robotic teeth.
In an experiment, the programmed glove’s carrying robot to gently touch a berry without damaging it.
They also programmed the handscrew hand to lift and move a ping-pong bullet without breaking it by using the sensor to detect the appropriate shear force to grab the ball without releasing it.
Robot gently touch a raspberry. (Image Credit: Courtesy of Bao Lab)
Bao said that with proper programming a robotic hand wearing the current touch glove could perform a repetitive task like lifting eggs from a conveyor belt and placing them in cartons.
The technology can also have applications in robot assisted surgery, where precision control is crucial.
But Bos’s ultimate goal is to develop an advanced version of the glove that automatically applies just the right amount of power to handle an object safely without prior programming.
We can program a robothand to touch a raspberry without breaking it, but we are far from being able to detect and detect that it is raspberries and allow the robot to retrieve it, she said.
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