Hot Topic

Robots and, Touch

Robots are thriving with artificial intelligence (AI) integration. According to recent studies, the global robotics market is expected to reach $200 billion by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 17%. 

With AI advancements, robots are becoming more autonomous and capable of performing various tasks, from manufacturing and healthcare to retail and hospitality. However, despite these advancements, most robots lack a sense of touch, hindering their ability to interact with objects and environments in a nuanced, human-like way. 

To truly revolutionise the way we live and work, there is a pressing need to develop robots with a sense of touch.

The Importance of Touch for Robots

A sense of touch is critical for the robotics industry to progress because it dramatically enhances a robot’s ability to interact with its environment and perform tasks more human-likely. Without a sense of touch, robots are limited to rigid and repetitive motions, unable to adjust their movements based on objects’ texture, shape, and weight. 

By incorporating a sense of touch, robots could be programmed to handle delicate items, such as fragile electronics or perishable goods, with greater precision and care. Additionally, a sense of touch would allow robots to adapt to changing environments, making them more versatile and flexible in their applications. 

With this newfound ability, robots could revolutionise industries ranging from manufacturing and healthcare to retail and hospitality, providing a more efficient and cost-effective solution for various tasks. Therefore, a sense of touch is a crucial step in advancing the robotics industry and bringing it closer to becoming a fully integrated part of our daily lives.

Developing Touch Sensors for Robots

Engineers use AI to develop a sense of touch for robots by incorporating sensors that can detect pressure, temperature, and texture. These sensors, known as tactile sensors, are integrated into the robot’s skin or outer surface, allowing it to sense the physical properties of objects it interacts with. 

The sensor data is then processed by AI algorithms, which use machine learning techniques to recognise patterns and make predictions based on the data received. By analysing the sensor data in real-time, the AI algorithms can allow the robot to distinguish between objects and environments, such as hard and soft surfaces or hot and cold temperatures.

In addition, AI algorithms can continuously improve their performance over time as the robot gathers more data and experiences through its interactions with the world. In this way, engineers can use AI to create robots with a sense of touch that can make nuanced, human-like decisions, greatly expanding their abilities and applications.

Read the full article here.