Engineers manage to create a technology capable of detecting different elements buried at great depth.
Although we have known a multitude of robots capable of passing over any surface, even overcoming obstacles for rescue tasks, the truth is that science has advanced less in regard to underground robotsThose capable of penetrating into the ground to locate elements such as cables or even pumps.
Now MIT engineers have developed a kind of robot that is capable of digging on the surface and detecting what is down there. This robot is called Digger finger, and has been designed to discern the shape of objects that are buried in granular material such as sand and pebbles.
“The idea is to make a finger that has a good sense of touch and can distinguish between various things that it feels. That would be useful if you are trying to find and defuse buried bombs”, Says the author of the study, Edward adelson.
This new technology builds on the advances previously achieved in the touch sensor technology called GelSight which is capable of providing highly detailed 3D maps of objects using artificial touch.
The technology GelSight It is a transparent gel covered with a reflective membrane and a set of LED lights. The rays of LED lights are distorted as the gel deforms when it comes into contact with objects. This distorted light is analyzed by a machine learning algorithm that discerns the proper shapes of the object that causes such deformation on the ground.
For this new advance, the MIT team modified this original system to resemble a vacuum cleaner hose under a slim cylindrical design capable of penetrating granular material.
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While there are other methods for more accurate underground detection, they believe their new development could be used for greater accuracy.
With this advance, what the researchers intend is to equip robots with a robotic hand as efficient as a human being and that it can take on delicate tasks such as locating different materials and objects under the ground.
While the first version of the robot is more intended to search for bombs or buried cables in dangerous places, it could ultimately help improve artificial touch technology.