Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Teaching Robots How to Touch

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Nature of Science

Ed Hessler

"Touch is the first sense that humans develop before birth," writes James Mitchell Crow in his introduction to Where I Work, Nature, June 19, 2023. "It is an intimate, emotional way to communicate and can convey a lot of information."

Yuhan Wu, a 3rd year PhD student in mechanical engineering at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York studies "touch in the context of human-robot interaction. She is a member of the Human-Robot Collaboration and Companionship Lab. Communication  through touch is important for social and companion robots. Wu notes that the team developed a soft robot 'skin' that enables touch-based interaction. Our robots can communicate through alterations to the shape, size and motion of textures on their skin."
These short videos -- Goosebumps - Texture-Changing Robot Skin and ShadowSense - Detecting - Human Touch in a Social Robot --are about two of her collaborations.
Crow describes Wu's work and other research by her group in a short read about research in science and engineering. The last two videos are examples of the cultural change in today's scientific and engineering research environment: increasing collaboration.

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