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30-03-2010, 09:23 PM
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09-10-2012, 01:58 PM
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HAPTICS (pronounced HAP-tiks) is the science of applying touch (tactile) sensation and control to interaction with computer applications. By using special devices (joysticks, data gloves, or other devices), users can receive feedback from computer applications in the form of felt sensation in the hand or other parts of the body. In combination with a visual display, haptics technology can be used to train people for tasks requiring hand eye coordination such as surgery and space ship maneuvers. It can also be used in games in which you feel as well as see your interactions with the images. For example, you might play tennis with another computer user somewhere else in the world. Both of you can see the moving ball, using the haptic device, position and swing your tennis racket and feel the impact of the ball.
The fight for sight
Artificial vision involves far more than simply attaching a camera to the head of a robot. If robots are to actually react in a suitable way, they must be able to interpret what they are seeing.
How do you get a robot to recognize an apple? You have to program it with enough information in its internal memory system, so that the apple could not possibly be anything else. But look around you; think how much information you would have to provide to account for all the objects in the room, let alone the world!
In the broad picture, artificial vision is still in its infancy. There are no HAL 90000s just around the corner, but when that day arrives, the robotics industry will take off like never before.
For now, scientists have been able to design visual robot capable of performing very specific jobs – driving cars, playing badminton and even putting out fires. Three dimensional visions is just making its debut, enabling motion detection far more accurate than humans are capable of.
Alex Zelinsky is the founder of the company Seeing Machines in Australia. One of his products is a computerized camera, rigged up inside the cockpit of a car, to monitor the tiny movements in a driver’s face.
Information on gaze and eyelid activity is then analyzed to determine the level of fatigue. With over 1000 road deaths per year in Australia attributed to over-tired drivers, this could be a very important move.
To feel for real
AS you touch your keyboard now, millions of tiny nerves relay information to the brain about the position, texture and movement of the keys. Robots have no impulses, so how do they manipulate screwdrivers and spanners to perform delicate tasks?
The story of artificial touch begins in an area of virtual reality called HAPTICS which describes the physical handling of virtual objects. With your fingers placed in special thimbles, you can pluck non-existent objects of a virtual environment and even watch your virtual hands doing it!
Manayan Srinivasan, director of the popular Touch Lab, explains. “We could create a doughnut shape ….. make it feel sticky on the outside, with a gooey virtual jelly centre”
One of the most exciting applications of Haptics is telerobotic surgery. Surgeons can perform an operation without actually being present. Using virtual technology, they not only control the robot from afar, but also can actually feel their way through the operation.
In Austalia, Professor Andy Russell of Monash University is creating robots that can sense temperatures changes through touch. By placing a heater in the robot finger to mimic the heating of blood in our fingers and a thermistor to sense the temperature change, he has created robots that can follow heat trails.
“Heating the ground to about 50 de4grees with a quartz halogen bulb gave a heat trail that could be detected 15 minutes later,” said Professor Russell. One of the most sophisticated robotic hands to date came from Chinese developer Liu Hong, with 96 sensors and four joints in each finger. Robotic limbs, you see, are not limited to the evolutionary constraints of our bodies. Theoretically, a robotic hand could have dozens of fingers able to withstand extreme temperatures and rotate 360 degrees, with handy tools that can pop out of the fingertips when needed! This is Robonaut, a robot of surpassing dexterity created by NASA to reach further than the human hand and expand our ability for space construction and discovery.
Robots that smell!
Like ants following there own pheromone trails back home, robots can be fitted with special quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) sensors to detect and follow specific chemicals along the ground. Again Professor Russell explains, “The QCM sensors actually weigh the odor molecules and the extra weigh reduces the crystal frequency”
With the ability to sense particular odors in this way, the applications of robots will stretch yet further. For example, swarms of robots could move together without colliding by avoiding the smell of their neighbors.
Just a taster!
In January this year, a hand-held robotic tongue was unveiled to the world. Now threatening to replace professional tasters, this tongue is able to distinguish not only between two different wines from the same winery but also between different years! Sophisticated wine connoisseur it may be, but the science behind it is simple The tongue’s electric circuit contains four chemical sensors relating to the four basic tastes sweet, sour, salty and bitter. These sensors absorb dissolved substances differently. Specific foods have a unique “fingerprint” of these substances, therefore affecting the conductivity of the circuit in their own unique way.
A multi channel taste sensor, namely an electronic tongue, with global selectively is composed of several kinds of lipid/polymer membranes for transforming information about substances producing taste into electrical signals, which are input to a computer . The sensors output exhibits different patterns for chemical substances, which have different taste qualities such as saltiness, sourness and bitterness, whereas it exhibits similar patterns for chemical substances with similar tastes. The sensor respond to taste itself, as can be understood from the fact that taste interactions such as the suppression effect, which appears for sweet and bitter substances, can be produced well.The tastes of foodstuffs such as beer, coffee, mineral water, milk, sake, rice, soybean paste and vegetables can be discussed quantitatively using the taste sensor, which provides the objective scale for the human sensory system.
ABOUT HAPTICS LABORATORY
The Haptics Laboratory works on the engineering and design of design of haptic interfaces, that is, of systems, which comprise software and hardware components that concern the sense of touch.
They work on on-line computational models of interaction between objects (deformation, friction, cutting, etc) which can provide high-fidelity simulations as needed, for example, in the construction of surgical simulators. They are also interested in construction of surgical simulators. They are also interested in the study of perpetual effects involving touch, and to take advantage of them to create devices, visualization methods and tactile displays.
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