Touch (An Important Human Sense)

· Touch is one of the main human senses, along with hearing, taste, vision and smell

"...In factories and warehouses, robots routinely outdo humans in strength and precision. Artificial intelligence software can drive cars, beat grandmasters at chess and leave Jeopardy! Champions in their dust.

But machines still lack a critical element will keep them from eclipsing most human capabilities any time soon: a well-developed sense of touch..."

John Markoff, 2014

"...Touch is a much more complicated sense than one might think. Humans have an array of organs that allow them to sense pressure, sheer force, temperature and vibrations with remarkable precision..."

Ken Goldberg as quoted in John Markoff, 2014

· Haptics = technology that makes it possible to mimic the sensation of touch in a computer simulation. It is a way of linking artificial intelligence and human intelligence so that each performs what it is best at

Kinematics = the study of motion control in jointed bodies

· Since the 1960s, robots have learned to perform repetitive factory work but are limited in activities like opening a door, picking themselves up if they fall, pulling a coin out of a pocket or twirling a pencil. Robots have a level of physical ineptness, and lacked perception and mobility

"...Physiologists have shown that the interaction between a finger on a surface is detected by organs called mechano-receptors, which are embedded at different depths in the skin. Some are sensitive to changes in an object's size or shape and others to vibrations. In the case of tiny surface variations, cues come from the Pacinian corpuscles, oval-shaped structures around 1 mm long......Replicating that sensitivity is the goal of haptics, a science that is playing an increasing role in connecting the computing world to humans..."

John Markoff, 2014


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