Researchers from MIT have developed a robotic hand that can identify objects after grasping them just once, using high-resolution touch sensors. Typically, robotic hands require full contact with fingertips to identify objects, necessitating multiple grasps. Some designs utilise lower-resolution sensors that need to be spread along entire fingers, necessitating the same. To solve these issues, the MIT team created a robotic finger with a rigid skeleton, covered by a soft outer layer that has multiple high-resolution sensors beneath its transparent skin. Using this design, the researchers built a three-fingered robotic hand with an accuracy rate of around 85%. The rigid skeleton makes the fingers strong enough to pick up a heavy item like a drill, while the soft skin helps to grip pliable items like empty plastic water bottles. This design could have particular uses in robots built for elderly or at-home care, which could lift heavy items while simultaneously helping individuals take a bath.

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