Research press release



Engineering: ‘Smart glove’ could add a human touch to robots



今回、Subramanian Sundaramたちの研究グループは、548個のセンサーと64個の導電糸電極が手全体を覆うように配置された、低コスト(10ドル)で単純な構造のスケーラブルな触覚手袋を設計した。このセンサーアレイは、導電糸電極のネットワークによって位置決めされた力感受性フィルムでできている。導電糸電極とフィルムが交差する各点は垂直力に敏感で、力感受性フィルムを通して電気抵抗を測定している。Sundaramたちは、この触覚手袋を着用して片手で物体を操作することによって、触覚マップの大規模データセットを記録した。このデータセットには、指領域間の空間相関と対応関係が含まれており、これらがヒトの把持の触覚特徴を示している。


A glove equipped with networks of sensors that can learn to identify individual objects, estimate weights and use tactile feedback while manipulating objects is reported in a paper published this week in Nature. This strategy may aid the future design of prosthetics, robotic tools and human-robot interactions.

Humans can grasp and feel objects while simultaneously applying the correct amount of force. Such sensory feedback is challenging to engineer in robots. In recent years, computer-vision-based grasping strategies have progressed with the help of emerging machine learning tools. However, platforms that rely on tactile information are lacking.

Subramanian Sundaram and colleagues designed a simple, low-cost (US$10) scalable tactile glove covering the full hand with 548 sensors and 64 conducting thread electrodes. The sensor array consists of a force-sensitive film, addressed by a network of conducting threads. Each point of overlap between the electrodes and the film was sensitive to perpendicular forces and measured the electrical resistance through the film. The authors recorded a large-scale dataset of tactile maps by wearing the glove while manipulating objects with a single hand. The dataset included spatial correlations and correspondence between finger regions, which represent the tactile signatures of the human grasp.

Using the glove, the authors recorded tactile videos while interacting with a set of 26 objects with a single hand for more than five hours. They then trained a deep learning network to identify these images using the recorded data, and found that it was able to identify various objects from the way they were held.

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1234-z

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