Have you wondered how it feels not be touched at all? We often tend to take the very feeling of touch for granted. However, loosing that feeling of touch is quite traumatic for those who are left without hands and limbs. Despite the availability of sophisticated prosthesis that are able to imitate each and every motion of hand through its complex yet technically-advanced moving joints and fingers, it remains an unnatural and frustrating experience for its users. Shortage of tactile experience is mostly to be blamed for this thereby resulting in the limited use of these prosthetic devices that come very expensive. There comes the need of prosthesis that can actually feel the surrounding environment.
Development of “Living” Robot By University of Utah School of Medicine and Florida Atlantic University
A team of scientists from the University of Utah School of Medicine and Florida Atlantic University, led by the department of engineering and computer science, have incepted and are developing a robotic hand that will be bioengineered to adapt and grow to its environment. It will have its own nervous system that would directly connect its actuators and robotic sensors, however, an advanced robotic arm and hand would be the focal point of this entire project.
This robotic hand is being fitted with several sensory receptors that are made to respond to environmental changes. Though controlled by humans, it can sense changes in pressure, interpret information that it had received and interact with the surrounding objects. Its grip is adjusted on the basis of the fragility and weight of the object it has its hands on. The scientists are, however, now trying to figure out how to send back that information back to the brain through the remaining neural pathways that had earlier been damaged.
The department of Sensing and Embedded Network Systems (I-SENSE) of Florida Atlantic University are funding the initial stages of this research.