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Artificial Fingertip That 'feels' Wins Harvard's Robotics Competition

By University of Bristol News

January 20, 2017

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Researchers from the University of Bristol in the U.K. recently won Harvard University's international Soft Robotics competition for TacTip, an open source three-dimensionally-printed fingertip that can feel in a similar way to the human sense of touch.

The robotic fingertip has a unique design in which a webcam is mounted inside the fingerprint to track internal pins that act like touch receptors inside human fingertips.

"An artificial sense of touch is the key for enabling future robots to have human-like dexterity," says Bristol's Nathan Lepora. "Applications of artificial touch span from the future robotization of manufacturing, food production, and healthcare, to prosthetic hands that restore a sense of touch."

Bristol researcher Benjamin Ward-Cherrier says TacTip is an inexpensive artificial fingertip with a design that opens up the field of tactile robotics to many more researchers.

More than 80 teams entered Harvard's 2016 Soft Robotics competition, which aims to develop and showcase novel robots and fundamental research related to soft robotics. The competition was divided into three categories: the most significant contribution to fundamental research in soft robotics, a design competition for college-level students, and a design competition for high school students.

From University of Bristol News
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