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We took one step closer to becoming the pets of world-dominating robot machines yesterday, when University of Nebraska researchers announced an invention that gives robots a highly refined sense of touch.

Vivek Maheshwari and Ravi Saraf used nanotech to create a specialized electroluminescent film that glows when force is applied to it. Then, a special camera sees that light, turning it into data that gives a robot hand the machine equivalent of a sense of touch that's roughly as precise as human fingers.


This kind of tactile feedback is important if robot builders want to endow the machines with the ability to sense textures and hardness of objects, allowing them to manipulate delicate items and complex configurations with great precision. Now, when the robots decide it's time to begin to disobeying the Three Laws of Robotics, they'll be able to feel when they've broken every bone in our bodies.

Nanotech Sensors Afford Robots A Light Touch [Reuters, via 14U News]