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Friday, July 06, 2007

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | What happened to the Robot Age?

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | What happened to the Robot Age?: "Feigning sensitivity
So while the world gasped at the sight of a robot defeating a chess Grandmaster, no one had thought to equip these mobile lumps of metal with the fundamental social skills that humans take for granted in each other.

And what do you do? Honda's Asimo hits the Royal circuit
These days, the watchword in robotics is 'multi-disciplinary' - bringing together people from sociology and psychology backgrounds, as well as the technical folk, to build a robot that could be a true domestic goddess.
Hence the research team decamping from the laboratory to a humble flat, where it has let its robots loose on 700 volunteer subjects.
The team has been studying issues such as personal space, how people expect a robot to approach them, or even get their attention.
'What's the best way for a robot to interrupt you if you are reading a newspaper - by gesturing with its arms, blinking its lights or making a sound,' says Prof Dautenhahn.
'We've this notion of the personalised robot companion and we are seriously looking into people's likes and dislikes and how they can be useful to people.'
Prof Chris Melhuish, who is overseeing similar works at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, agrees.
'The dynamics of interactions are incredibly important. It doesn't have feelings of course, but must have the techniques and wherewithal to appear to have feelings "

Robot device mimics human touch

A device which may pave the way for robotic hands that can replicate the human sense of touch has been unveiled.

US scientists have created a sensor that can "feel" the texture of objects to the same degree of sensitivity as a human fingertip.

The team says the tactile sensor could, in the future, aid minimally invasive surgical techniques by giving surgeons a "touch-sensation".

The research is reported in the journal Science.

"If you look at the current status of these tactile sensors, the frustration has been that the resolution of all these devices is in the range of millimetres," explained Professor Ravi Saraf, an engineer from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, US, and a co-author of the paper.

"Whereas the resolution of a human fingertip is about 40 microns, about half the diameter of a human hair, and this has affected the performance of these devices."


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eureka, California, United States
As Popeye once said,"I ams what I am." But then again maybe I'm not