Robotics

Warehouse robots that feel by sight

More than a decade ago, Ted Adelson set out to create tactile sensors for robots that would give them a sense of touch. The result? A handheld imaging system powerful enough to visualize the raised print on a dollar bill. ...

Robotics

Artificial skin gives robots sense of touch and beyond

We tend to take our sense of touch for granted in everyday settings, but it is vital for our ability to interact with our surroundings. Imagine reaching into the fridge to grab an egg for breakfast. As your fingers touch ...

Robotics

Touchy subject: 3D printed fingertip 'feels' like human skin

Machines can beat the world's best chess player, but they cannot handle a chess piece as well as an infant. This lack of robot dexterity is partly because artificial grippers lack the fine tactile sense of the human fingertip, ...

Robotics

ReSkin could help researchers discover a sense of touch

Picking up a blueberry or grape without squishing it isn't hard, but try teaching it to a robot. The same goes for walking on ice, turning a key to unlock a door or cooking a favorite dish.

Electronics & Semiconductors

More skin-like: An electronic skin that can feel

What if we didn't have skin? We would have no sense of touch, no detection of coldness or pain, leaving us unable to respond to most situations. The skin is not just a protective shell for organs, but rather a signaling system ...

Engineering

New glove-like device mimics sense of touch

What if you could touch a loved one during a video call—particularly in today's social distancing era of COVID-19—or pick up and handle a virtual tool in a video game?

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Somatosensory system

The somatosensory system is a diverse sensory system comprising the receptors and processing centres to produce the sensory modalities such as touch, temperature, proprioception (body position), and nociception (pain). The sensory receptors cover the skin and epithelia, skeletal muscles, bones and joints, internal organs, and the cardiovascular system. While touch is considered one of the five traditional senses, the impression of touch is formed from several modalities; In medicine, the colloquial term touch is usually replaced with somatic senses to better reflect the variety of mechanisms involved.

The system reacts to diverse stimuli using different receptors: thermoreceptors, mechanoreceptors and chemoreceptors. Transmission of information from the receptors passes via sensory nerves through tracts in the spinal cord and into the brain. Processing primarily occurs in the primary somatosensory area in the parietal lobe of the cerebral cortex.

At its simplest, the system works when a sensory neuron is triggered by a specific stimulus such as heat; this neuron passes to an area in the brain uniquely attributed to that area on the body—this allows the processed stimulus to be felt at the correct location. The mapping of the body surfaces in the brain is called a homunculus and is essential in the creation of a body image.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA