Sensorized skin helps robots understand where the hell they are – The Next Web

Posted: February 16, 2020 at 1:45 am

Clumsy robots have been offered hope of improving their coordination after MIT researchers found a new way to help them find their bearings.

The systemgives soft robots a greater awareness of their movements by analysing motion and position data through a sensorized skin.

It works by collecting feedback fromsensors on the robots body.A deep learning model then analyses the data to estimate the robots 3D configuration.

[Read:Scientists used stem cells to create a new life-form: Organic robots]

The sensors are comprised of conductive silicone sheets, which the researchers cut into patterns inspired by kirigami a variation of origami that that involvescutting as well as folding paper. These patterns make the material sufficiently flexible and stretchable to be applied to soft robots.

A deep neural network then captures signals from sensorsto predict the best configuration for the robot.

The system aims to overcome the problem of controlling soft robots that can move in countless direction by giving themproprioception an awareness of their position and movements.It could eventually make artificial limbs better at handling objects.

The researchers used the system to teach an elephant trunk-shaped robot to predict its own position as it rotated and extended.

We want to use these soft robotic trunks, for instance, to orient and control themselves automatically, to pick things up and interact with the world, said MIT researcherRyan Truby, who co-wrote a paper describing how the system works. This is a first step toward that type of more sophisticated automated control.

Truby admits that the system can not yet capture subtle or dynamic motion. But it could at least reduce the clumsiness that has embarrassed robotkind for decades.

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Published February 13, 2020 17:10 UTC

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Sensorized skin helps robots understand where the hell they are - The Next Web

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