If you cringed at the prospect of a robot cutting your hair with a pair of scissors, then you better look away from this research project by John Whitney at Northeastern University. John Whitney and his students have a submitted a paper entitled “Series Elastic Force Control for Soft Robotic Fluid Actuators.”
In more layman understandable words, that is an experimental kind of actuator that can perceived force, so that robots, or robotic arms to be precise, will be able to execute delicate tasks. What better way to show how a robotic arm with soft actuators can perform delicate tasks than a straight razor wielding robot?
Granted, the said ‘robot’ with this cutting-edge fluid-based actuators is not autonomous. Instead, it is a remotely operated robotic system that allows a trained barber to take the straight razor to your face. In other words, it is, the words of John Whitney, the “world’s first straight razor shave-at-a-distance.”
There is a whole lot of theory behind this. If you are interested, you can watch Whitney detailing the entire system and the theory behind it in the video below. You may also want to read up on a detail report on IEEE Spectrum as well as the paper submitted to arXiv for even more in depth details.
Source: IEEE Spectrum.