Home Flexible & Soft Robots Soft Robots That Use Camera & Shadows to Sense Human Touch

Soft Robots That Use Camera & Shadows to Sense Human Touch

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Soft robots are getting more advanced all the time. As Cornell Researchers show in this video, soft robots can use a camera and shadows to sense human touch. A USB camera was put inside the robot to capture the shadow movements of hand gestures on the robot’s skin. Machine learning was then utilized to classify them.

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This approach saves robot engineers from installing a large number of contact sensors, which would be hard to embed in a deforming skin in the first place:

The prototype robot, designed by Petersen’s Collective Embodied Intelligence Lab, consists of a soft inflatable bladder of nylon skin stretched around a cylindrical skeleton, roughly four feet in height, that is mounted on a mobile base. Under the robot’s skin is a USB camera, which connects to a laptop. The researchers developed a neural-network-based algorithm that uses previously recorded training data to distinguish between six touch gestures.

The robot can be programmed to respond to certain gestures. More info is available here.

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