Breakthrough in World Tactile Sensors Market: Newly Developed Tactile Sensing Approach might Help Robotic Finger Decipher Sensory Feedback

  • Analysis
  • 04-August-2021

Scientists have been trying hard developing robotic systems that have the ability to artificially imitate the human sense of touch. Further, several researchers have invested time in creating bionic limbs and humanoid robots that are not only advanced but also realistic, comprising of soft material instead of rigid ones. Even though scientists have managed to create robots with soft materials, they are usually not able to collect a large amount of sensory information. In fact, enabling similar biological mechanisms as that of humans, which would gather tactile information about objects, has been a constant hurdle with scientific research.
A new development might finally cross this challenging hurdle. A research group has created a new tactile sensing approach that could potentially be applied for robotic fingers made from soft materials. The new material is inspired by proprioception (biological mechanism through which mammals perceive positions and movements) and would be a huge contribution towards the advancement of the World Tactile Sensors Market as hereafter researchers might be able to create better bionic limbs as an alternative to human ones and also humanoid robots.
The new study relies on the novel idea of the proprioception framework present within human beings. This is because it is the mechanism that enables one to determine their own body position and load on joints/tendons. The team came to work on a prosthetic hand as they were trying to overcome the downside of prosthetic hands, i.e., lack of sensory feedback.
The novel approach essentially revolves around extracting features from readings of the sensors. Thereafter, the machine learning tools are used to comprehend the texture and rigidity of a particular subject or object that the robotic finger has come into contact with. As per the experiments done, it was discovered that the technique helped the finder decipher the texture with 100% accuracy and stiffness with 99.7% accuracy.

The method entails embedding sensors on a robotic tendon, a unique approach that has been made use of for the first time and is being thought of a highly promising. As for future applications of the technique, it could be beneficial for the advancement of robots and prosthetic hands that would be able to gather proprioceptive and tactile feedback without the need for perfect contact with the surface.
For the future, researchers, while investing efforts in developing their system further, are also looking towards developing a low-cost tactile sensor that would sense torque/force signals and work as an alternative to robotic fingertips. The team revealed that they have already created some prototypes and are currently evaluating its performance.
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