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Aug 4, 2012

TakkTile Turns Digital Barometers Into Open-source Robot Touch Sensors

Freescale Semiconductor's MPL115A2 is a tiny thing that will sit quite comfortably on the tip of your finger. It's hard not to marvel at the engineering that went into the creation of something so small, yet so sensitive. The little metal square is minute enough to be plunked into a cell phone, offering up location pinpointing technologies that supplement GPS, gauging positions based on changes in atmospheric pressure.


Harvard's Biorobotics team was clearly impressed when it discovered the technology, devising a fascinating implementation that extends beyond the walls of the cell phone. The sensors would go on to form the core of the department's TakkTile open-source boards capable of bringing sensitive touch sensing to robot hands.

Also compelling is the price -- bought in bulk, the tiny barometers will run you $1 a piece, making the tactile array relatively inexpensive to assemble. Once you buy one, you can also get the most bang for your buck by snapping off the rows for individual use, a possibility given the symmetry of the design. Or you can just make one yourself, as the department has opted to open-source the technology, to help make it even more readily accessible to interested parties. More here.

Deep Surplus

4 comments:

Tojav said...

Today's technology is amazing and we are totally dependent on her.

YeamieWaffles said...

The price is definitely something that's catching because usually genius like this comes with a huge price tag. Thanks for sharing this.

sm said...

great that price tag is in reach of everyone

SammyK said...

Thats pretty sweet, I wonder if I could hook it up to an Arduino...