In recent years robots have been touted as the solution for a wide range of issues, such as assisting law enforcement in dealing with potentially explosive devices to providing aid to the elderly during home health care. However, the precision and delicate touch needed in such situations have remained slightly out of reach for even the most advanced robots, until now.
A group of roboticists at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta have developed a touch system that allows a robot to feel its way around various situations. Publishing their results in the International Journal of Robotics Research, the team revealed a new kind of robotic mechanism that uses a combination of touch and sight to navigate delicate maneuvers. Facilitated by what the team calls "artificial skin," the development allows to robotic arm to feel its way through clutter and actually pick out specific objects, in much the same way as a human would.
You can see the touch sensitive robotic arm attending the needs of a physically challenged person in action the video below.