A team of engineers have developed a robotic finger that is capable of detecting textures, making it more sensitive than a human hand. Hailing from the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering, they have created a sensor which features a soft exterior skin, with a textured pattern acting as kind of a finger print that surrounds a liquid filling and central, bone mimicking core.
The finger can move across the surface of a piece of textured material, and from small vibrations, transmitted through skin and liquid they can detect it by a hydrophone. It's basically like a microphone but for underwater use. It's housed within the core. Researchers claim it can also sense directional forces and temperature too.
The team trained the robot finger to detect 117 materials, and got it to identify a small set of samples as a test. The robotic finger was correct 95 percent of the time. Making it more accurate than the human hand.
The development of course, isn't to build cyborgs that will one day have feelings, but is actually for the development of a new generation of artificial limbs that will provide users not only with dexterity but the ability to feel again.