An innovative optical lace able to detect pressure as it deforms could give robots a keen new sense of touch.
Ph.D. student Patricia Xu from Cornell University was inspired to create the lace by noting the way skin will deform under pressure, allowing us to feel in the dark. The device is made up of a 3D-printed lattice structure threaded with optical fibers at its core and sensors able to precisely detect pressure changes. By identifying these changes in pressure, the optical lace system can ‘feel’ what it is touching.
Xu's team is currently commercializing the sensors for use in clothing that records motion for AR training.