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|With the increasing use of
robots in industry and other sectors there is increasing interest and
application of varying sensing techniques. This development, it could be
argued, may be heading toward simulation of the variety and quality of sensory
inputs humans have from our own hands, eyes, ears, skin etc. |
Our human hands are very much more versatile tools than the actuators on
current robots. We have the ability to:
- Detect close proximity to objects through small hairs on our hands,
- To touch gently or grip tightly,
- We can detect (feel) the force we are exerting on objects, and if they are
deforming as a result.
- We can detect temperature via the skin on our hands, also air movement and
we can infer some levels of humidity from feedback from nerve endings in the
skin on our hands.
- We can detect or infer characteristics of a surface we are touching,
including if there is liquid on the surface or if the surface appears to offer
the required grip to allow us to pick up an object.
- We can pick up or manipulate a variety of objects using our four fingers
and thumb in many different ways.
In short human hands are versatile tools with a variety of inbuilt sensory
mechanisms which when connected to a human brain can be very effective
Robots lack most of these sensory inputs, nor are they integrated with a
human brain which can make sense of the inputs to decide on courses of action,
unless they are being fully remotely controlled.
Therefore for robots to be increasingly used in an automatic way we have to
provide them with some sensory inputs to orient them in respect of the tasks
they are to carry out.
Sensatech has developed a number of sensors based on capacitive and electric
field techniques which have applications within robotics. Sensatech's ability
to multiplex sensors allows a large number of inexpensive plates acting as
sensors to be scanned from a central electronics module.
Application - Robotic Control
force / weight sensing
Application - Collision