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Facebook AI Research Team Builds Robots With Good Sense of Touch, Here’s What You Should Know

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, or now known as Meta, has shown its interest in using artificial intelligence in giving robots the feeling of sense of touch. Facebook AI Research Team has recently announced a new tactile sensing skin that will allow robots to easily sense the presence of objects without relying on the friction from the joint that exerts effort from that direction.

DIGIT tactile sensor

Facebook’s new generation of the touchy-feely sensor (Photo: TechCrunch)

Facebook Uses DIGIT Touch Sensor

The Facebook AI Research team believes that the next generation of robots should be able to feel the sense of touch. So, they and their partners have built a new kind of inexpensive electronic skin and fingertip called ReSkin that gives the robot the basic and reliable tactile sense.

According to IEEE Spectrum, Facebook is using the technology based on the DIGIT touch sensor that was released in 2020. This technology is also based on MIT’s GelSight style of sensor that covert a touch into vision. A finger pad consists of LEDs that light up when squished then a camera up inside the finger takes a video that results in a picture of whatever the finger pad is squishing against.

paper DIGIT published in 2020, explains that it improved the existing GelSight sensors by providing a more compact form factor that can be used in all the fingers. Also, they have improved its durability and made changes in the design to facilitate its large-scale, repeatable production for better tactile sensing research.

What Are Its Uses?

TechCrunch shared that the pressure-sensitive finger touch sensor will enable robots and other mechanical devices to easily sense the presence of objects and obstacles. In that way, assistive robots will be more gentle in handling things and be responsive to touch.

One of the reasons assistive robots are not so common yet is that people cannot trust them because they might crush something or the people they are caring for.

Although the concept is not new, Facebook is trying to make this technology more accessible and affordable. It is expected that this technology will be released publicly in devices at a cheaper price.