A Robotic Arm Gets A Sense Of Touch From Scientists

by Farhan
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A robotic arm that can feel touch lets paralyzed people quickly pour water into cups. Sensory information is transmitted directly from the man’s arm to his brain. A robotic arm that can sense touch has helped a paralyzed man perform tasks like pouring water from one cup to another. By using the robotic arm, the man’s brain receives tactile feedback

Scientists can control the device with their thoughts. Using only his vision, Nathan Copeland guided the arm. When I could only see the object being touched by the hand, Copeland says, I could see it connected. I had to pick up the device sometimes, and it would fall out.

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Wearers power prosthetic hands. A man who lost an arm below the elbow 17 years ago has regained some touch by touch through his thoughts. University of Utah researchers report their findings in Science Robotics. Legendary Star Wars character Luke Skywalker inspired the LUKE arm. 

Robotic Arm Gets A Sense Of Touch

Darth Vader’s lightsaber severed his hand in The Empire Strikes Back. Keven Walgamott was able to remove grapes from a stem. He held his wife’s hand while picking up an egg without cracking the shell.

Copeland spent about 20 seconds on an average grasping task. Jennifer Collinger, a University of Pittsburgh professor, says the student could complete it in 10 minutes with sensory feedback.

Haptic feedback is essential for the use of robotic arms or prosthetic limbs. The intangible nature of objects makes them difficult to grasp, as Collinger explains. The pressure is also kept at the proper level when moving it to another location. It depends on tactile feedback from the hand, she says.

Jen Collinger:

A simple act like picking up a cup and maintaining the right amount of pressure can help. When moving it, your robotic arm is primarily responsible for providing tactile feedback.


He works with a team to develop ways to provide tactile feedback to a robotic arm and hand. Nathan Copeland, a paralyzed person in his 30s, has been working with scientists. To make electrical signals travel to Copeland’s brain, the team needed to find a way to send electrical alerts to that part. This system processes sensory information.

The press release, which was written by Walgamott, who got burned when his left hand and part of his arm were severed in an electrical accident, almost brought him to tears.

Robotic Arm

The researchers said that 119 sensory precepts were activated by electrodes implanted in Walgamott’s nerves.

  • A vibration
  • Pressure
  • Tightening
  • Movement
  • Tapping
  • Buzzing
  • Or pain felt through touch.

Following this, the scientists transferred this information to the robotic arm. It would be getting the same information from their natural hand with what George refers to as a good approximation.

A team of researchers has spent years trying to develop tactile feedback for robotic arms and hands. Copeland was paralyzed in a terrible accident as a teen during that time, nearly 15 years ago. Using the brain-computer interface, he has learned to control the robot’s movements.

By Using Electronic Pulses

So, to process sensory information, electrodes were initially placed in Copeland’s brain. By using electronic pulses, they were able to simulate different sensations. Stimulation of the fingertip-related areas proved to be effective. Collinger says the participant’s brain displayed trends that appeared to be coming from his robotic arm.

In a second step, the scientists figured out how to create those signals when the robot made contact with something. In the final step, Copeland was timed as he performed tasks such as grasping a block and pouring water with and without tactile feedback.

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It found that Copeland performed manual tasks about twice as fast as a person using their robotic arm. Copeland says the sensation would change intensity depending on the force the hand exerted on the object. It was also possible to tell whether I had a firm grip or not.

Touch Sensing Technology

Using touch-sensing technology in prosthetic limbs can also help them work more efficiently. Most do this by providing vibrations or other forms of haptic feedback. Smartphones use this technique to make it easier to type on a screen. Robotic arms have been developed to emulate the functions of human limbs, which explains Brown. The elbow and wrist can bend, and the fingers can grasp.

However, when someone has control over these things. He says it’s clunky until they have haptics. He tells us that sensors are still limited to rudimentary functions, such as sensing resistance or temperature.

In recent years, scientists have begun to learn how to build robotic arms and fingers to detect these subtle differences between objects. Also, a prosthetic or robotic arm provides more fantastic sensory feedback. Brown says they will become more valuable. However, he says that increasing skill is not the only purpose of a sense of touch. Getting keys out of your pocket isn’t enough, he says. Also, it’s the sense of emotional connection you feel when you hold someone you love’s hand.

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