This BioTac robot finger can feel, probably tickle you too
While Doctor Connors in the latest Spider-Man film tries growing new limbs using lizard DNA – with terrible monster consequences – real doctors are playing it safe with robot limbs. The BioTac finger is actually better than the real thing with an ability to recognise 117 different textures, some of which humans failed to spot.
The BioTac finger has a soft, flexible skin that covers a liquid filling within which is a vibration sensor (in the bone like centre) that detects variations in surface texture. It even has a fingerprint to help improve sensitivity. When tested against humans it could detect variations in similar textures that left the fleshy meat bags baffled.
We’re looking forward to upgrading our fingers in the future, or even using avatar robots that offer accurate feedback. But the discovery from the University of California is still in its early stages so don’t expect to start shaking hands with bone-crushing-yet-sensitive upgraded humans anytime soon.