Robot hand has a sensitive touch

Paul Boughton

After several years of collaboration, a team of more than 200 scientists from various disciplines have developed a tactile sensor in the shape of a fingertip made of a complex laser direct structuring (LDS) component, artificial hands can learn to feel.

When it comes to making things small and compact, the LDS process has a lot to offer. Three-dimensional plastic parts are transformed into three-dimensional moulded interconnect devices through laser treatment and subsequent electroless metallisation. This process played a key role in the development of a robot hand with fine motor skills.

At the Cognitive Interaction Technology Center of Excellence (CITEC) at Bielefeld University, Germany, experts from various fields jointly developed a sensitive hand that can interact with its environment.

A technical paper dealing with the development and construction of the fingertip sensor, which enables haptic communications between the robot control system and the environment, has been published. It describes the developments that had to be made before the sensitive robot hand could be manufactured. 

To meet the sensor requirements and integrate them on a fingertip, various LDS models were produced.

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