Prosthetics get closer to functioning like the actual limbs they replace each year. A recent Medgadget article noted the latest in prosthetic technology that gives robots and amputees the ability to feel a gradient of applied force. A team of engineers at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Design developed a fingertip sensor that gives robots, and robotic prostheses, the ability to gauge how much force is applied to it.
The system consists of a camera mounted inside a rubbery robot finger that monitors the interior walls of a hollow chamber within the area. The area is lit by a ring of LEDs, and a neural network interprets the camera feed to precisely calculate the location, magnitude, and direction of the force applied to the finger. A video demonstration can be seen here.