PR2 Robot Has Been Taught The Meaning Of Tactile Adjectives (+VIDEO)
In our daily communication we use various abstract terms to describe, how objects feel. Aiming to help robots communicate with us, researchers at University of Pennsylvania’s Haptics Group (part of the GRASP Lab) and UC Berkeley have devised a system to teach robots how these abstract terms apply to real-world objects. At this year’s IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), scientists have experimented a lot with haptics (touch and touch interaction). Both advanced sensors, and advanced software to understand what the sensors are saying, are needed in this case. Translating such sensor data into something that a human can understand is rather difficult, though a PR2 robot equipped with an innovative finger sensor from SynTouch has been taught to use touch exploration to associate objects with “tactile adjectives.” Unlike robots, humans easily understand, what terms like squishy, fuzzy, or crinkly mean. The researchers had a PR2 with the BioTac tactile finger sensor perform a series of procedures on the same set of objects, including tapping, squeezing, holding, and both slow and fast sliding. You can see PR2 exploring a folded satin pillowcase through touch in the video below.