This Robotic Finger Blows Yours Away

n light of fears that technology is “terrkin our jerrbs”, a new invention called the BioTac is kind of off-putting at first. Created by Scientists and USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering bypasses the tactile function of human fingers, instead using...

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Jun 20 2012, 8:00pm

In light of fears that technology is "terrkin our jerrbs", a new invention called the BioTac is kind of off-putting at first. Created by Scientists at USC's Viterbi School of Engineering, it bypasses the tactile function of human fingers, instead using robotic sensors to identify textures. Sounds good, right? Well, distinguishing us from other animals in the food chain are our extremely refined tactile abilities that allow us to get a physical sense of objects in the universe, pick them up, and hold onto them. So basically the BioTac is the beginning of the end for one of our most human traits, because robots now have a similar, if not better, ability to understand textures of various surfaces. Still, the BioTac isn't all that bad; it represents a huge milestone for those with prosthetics, offering a very real potential for them to feel again as similar robotic products continue to become more sophisticated.

Our friends over at The Creator's Project reported that the BioTac is "composed of a soft, flexible, skin over a liquid filling which can feel textures using a hydrophone (an underwater microphone), which detects vibrations as the robo-finger runs along a surface." No two humans have the same set of fingerprints, thus, it's only natural that the BioTac has its own set, which maximizes its sensitivity to vibrations. The Creators too have pondered humans' place in a weary future of zombifying, technologically advanced culture pointing out that the BioTac sensors have even more sensitivity than the human hand and that our "crappy hand has lost out to a robot."

You can be reassured that the robots, or at least the prosthetic finger wont be takin' our jerbs any time soon because researchers, Fishel and Loeb affirm the BioTac's inability to make preferential decisions about textures as humans do. There we have it folks, our opinions are the single force keeping our species above the robots.

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