Stanford glove gives robots sense of touch

Now that Stanford’s made a glove for robots so that they might have a sense of touch, what’s next? It’s not a great time to hand a robot a sharp metal object, of that you can be sure. A paper was published this week in the scientific journal Science Robotics by chemical engineer Zhenan Bao and her team on what makes this robot hand work.

With the components in the glove, the robot can sense in ways that imitate human skin. Layers of human skin allow our body to sense extreme differences in heat, pressure, and other stimuli in a wide variety of objects. Sensors in the glove allow the robot to “feel” objects as layers move closer together and move against one another.

“This technology puts us on a path to one day giving robots the sort of sensing capabilities found in human skin,” said Bao. “We can program a robotic hand to touch a raspberry without crushing it, but we’re a long way from being able to touch and detect that it is raspberry and enable the robot to pick it up.”

Above you’ll find a video published by the Stanford University School of Engineering. This video shows skin-like touch sensors that enable a robotic hand to “deliver just the right amount of pressure to lift and move a ping pong ball without crushing it.” This video is courtesy of Bao Lab. You can learn more about this glove and the technology created by Bao in Science Robotics starting this week.