The device that senses texture when touching an object

How we sense the actual reality through touching.
Image credit: RE TOUCH LAB

UCSB (UC Santa Barbara) researchers are studying models and patterns of vibration on the skin of hand to understand more deeply how we sense the actual reality through touching. The fact is that scientists don’t yet know for sure how the mechanism of touch sensation actually works. Therefore, they have created a device that senses texture when touching an object and captures patterns of vibration in the skin during touching. The device consists of very small vibration sensors and accelerometers, it clamps on the user’s hand and fingers. Different types of touch have distinctive vibration signatures and UCSB researchers have cataloged all of these distinctions.
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Artificial Fingertip Lets Amputee Feel Textures

Bionic fingertip lets recognize material's texture 96% of the time
Bionic fingertip lets recognize material’s texture 96% of the time, photo credit: Hillary Sanctuary/EPFL

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne have created an artificial fingertip that is connected directly to the nervous systems of an amputee. Using a fingertip covered with high-tech sensors, a patient has been able to feel different textures, grainy and smooth surfaces. The engineers have already integrated the bionic fingertip into a prosthetic hand.
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Ali Padilla constructs a very realistic prosthesis

Realistic finger and fingernail prosthesis
Realistic prosthetic finger, photo by Ali Padilla

Ali Padilla arrived in Chicago from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He received a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of New Mexico. Currently, he is doing his internship at the National Museum of Health where conducts research for various projects and creates content/assets for museum exhibits. Ali is currently a graduate student in the Biomedical Visualization program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he studies building skeletons and making artificial limbs (ocular prosthesis, nasal prosthesis, ear prosthesis, finger and fingernail prosthesis).
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