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Robotics Industry

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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 tools.

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 and protection.

See also:
Application - force / weight sensing
Application - Collision avoidance

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