Robots are renowned for moving like, eh, robots (a bit like Jimmy Fallon below). But scientists are increasingly making them more natural so they can mimic humans in their interactions and abilities.
Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have this week improved how tactile they can be by adding a sensor – called GelSight – which allows robots to be more nimble and get a real feel what they are touching, attributes that would make them better suited to becoming household robots.
By enabling them to gauge how hard an item is the sensors ensure the robot grasps it with the right amount of strength.
Designing robots which can replicate human movements is no easy task but researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have done just that, by developing a method to automatically design soft actuators based on the desired movement.
While a team at University of Minnesota have created 3D bionic skin which could give robots the sense of touch.
All of these advances will allow robots to make a bigger impact across society, whether that is in a hospital, a home, or a place of work.