WIRED feature – Go Inside the Lab That’s Giving Robots a Sense of TouchFriday, October 6th, 2017 | Source
SynTouch Inc., the world leader in haptic technology, is featured in a video published today by WIRED. Matt Simon interviewed SynTouch founder and CEO Gerald E. Loeb on enabling machines with the human sense of touch.
“This is the kind of robot that humanity needs,” said Simon, “something that can feel pressure and texture and temperature – just like we can”. It might be useful, said Simon “for robots to interact with humans without, you know, crushing them.”
Aside from dexterous manipulation, the sense of touch is also critical for perception. WIRED’s Simon found the use of SynTouch’s tactile measurement instrument – BioTac Toccare™ –particularly exciting. “SynTouch hopes to create a new standard by actually quantifying the sense of touch… but why make a robot tickle a piece of fabric?”
Loeb explained, using an automaker with a new concept car as an example. “After the concept, the car has to be produced by the millions and the profit margin comes from replacing all the exotic materials with things that are almost as good but much cheaper. The question is how do you decide whether it still has the feel? You can get the colors right because there are standards for colors. What we’re producing now is a standard for touch.” Both OEMS and component manufactures – like SynTouch customer International Automotive Corporation – use this technology to get the right feel for their cars.
But what of the consumer? While automakers, electronics companies and apparel designers are using this technology to improve the feel of products, how can someone shopping online know what feels great? Simon explains how the infographics can help. “With such a standard you might one day shop for clothes online and see an objective rating of a shirt’s softness as opposed to reading peoples’ subjective comments on its texture.”