A development that allows it to work closely and comfortably alongside humans.
Most robots are taught to avoid bumping into people and objects, complicating the simple task of reaching for an object in a cluttered environment, like a salt shaker on a dinner table crowded with plates and glasses.
To tackle this, Charlie Kemp of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and colleagues created a flexible electronic skin studded with 384 sensors that detect very slight touch. The skin covers the robot's entire arm, and stretches and flexes as the arm moves. The arm itself, developed by Meka Robotics of San Francisco, has springy joints that allow it to close gently around any object it grasps.
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