Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed an artificial finger that can accurately determine what surfaces are made of. About their development, scientists told in Science Advances.

The scientists wanted to create a mechanism that could distinguish materials by touch. To do this, they placed square polymer sensors on a plastic housing that is shaped like a finger. Each sensor has unique electrical properties, allowing each to respond to a specific type of surface.

Each sensor was connected to a separate processor inside the finger. All sensors are connected into a single system that processes data and learns from it, so that analysis becomes faster and faster over time. The screen on the body displays the process of calculating the material.

The creators tested the device on samples of glass, wood, silicon and plastic. The robotic finger was able to pinpoint exactly what it was touching with up to 96.8% accuracy. The minimum accuracy for all surfaces was 90%.

The device was then tested for strength by applying it thousands of times to various surfaces. The finger has withstood the load. According to scientists, such wear resistance will allow their development to be used in industry, for example, when testing products.

Another possible application is in humanoid robots that can perform new tasks through material analysis. It will also serve people: with it, you can create prosthetic limbs that will give a realistic tactile response when you touch different surfaces.

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