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Science AMA Series: We are SynTouch, engineers making tactile sensors that rival the human fingertip. We capture the sense of Touch, and use it to quantify product feel, build adaptive robotic and prosthetics hands, and drive VR haptic displays. AMA!
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We are SynTouch: the world leader in the technology of human touch. We invented the only sensor in the world that endows machines with the ability to replicate the human sense of touch. We call this emerging field Machine Touch. Like machine vision, it requires a combination of sensors and algorithms to take a human sense, capture it and allow us to do useful things with tactile information. One core application of our technology is quantifying dimensions of touch - we’ve created a taxonomy called the SynTouch Standard® that consists of fifteen dimensions humans feel. The information is captured by our BioTac Toccare® which Automakers, Apparel and Consumer Electronics companies use to define and improve the haptics of their products. Analogous to the use of digital color meters to capture RGB values and drive product manufacturing decisions to ensure they ‘look right’, our technology provides information to ensure products ‘feel right’. Our technology also functions as the input for haptic displays for VR and telerobotics. This allows us to drive haptic displays with real-world data for anything from a surgical robot to a gaming device – and we’ve worked with both! We’re also pursuing long-term projects to command robotic hands with tactile sense and reflexes. Our sensors allow robot hands to handle fragile objects better than currently available systems – one prime use case that we’re pursing now deploying this technology in prosthetics to allow amputees to handle fragile objects without dropping or crushing them. SynTouch was founded in 2008 by Professor Gerald Loeb, and Ph.D. students Matthew Borzage, Jeremy Fishel, and Nicholas Wettels who were at the University of Southern California. We’ve been recognized by Popular Mechanics, The Robot Report, and the World Economic Forum… Happy to answer more questions, but we’re getting busier with foot traffic right now. Thank you for your interest!