In the world of robots, to see them develop the ability to touch is one thing, but to exert a certain degree of pressure is another since different items, such as an egg, would require far less pressure to hold in one’s hand without cracking it compared to say, a brick. Well, Japanese researchers have managed to come up with a haptic device which can be hooked up to a person’s hand in order to simulate the softness of different materials thanks to the production of realistic tactile sensations on individual fingertips.
These very same researchers claim that such a device would come in handy as a training tool, where it can be of assistance to medical students to end up skilled in exams which require the feeling of various body parts using the hands. There is one application which is touted to be successful in its implementation, and that would be through the education of students to palpate breasts in the quest for lumps.
The researchers hail from Gifu University in Japan, and have dubbed their invention as a “multi-fingered haptic interface robot.” Basically, this invention of theirs comprises of a five-fingered haptic hand that is hooked up to a robot arm. The mechanism used in “feeling” relies on a thin, flexible sheet of a material that is called hyper-gel, and it does share some similar properties to human flesh.