Add to the list of things robots now do better than humans: feel. Researchers at the U. of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering have designed a robot finger that can outperform humans in the basic yet complex sensory task of touching. Their robot finger, equipped with a novel tactile sensor technology, is better at identifying and distinguishing between different materials and textures than human beings are.
A system first made for robot navigation could give blind people the equivalent of a Braille head-up display, according to French researchers. Two cameras mounted to a pair of glasses generate a three-dimensional image of a person’s environment and their place in it, displaying the information on a handheld Braille device.
Researchers at Georgia Tech have found that a little vibration goes a long way toward upping a person’s sense of touch. Using a glove of their own design, they’ve found that they can heighten tactile sensitivity by applying a small, high-frequency vibration to the side of the fingertip.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.