The development of sensor-based technology to date has naturally progressed to match our biological predispositions. Much work has been done to further the capabilities of image and audio recognition by machines, but relatively little to match our other senses. Pressure-sensitive resistors are cheap and freely available, but are very rudimentary in terms of their accuracy and complexity. Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have made recent breakthroughs with modeling the complexity of human sense of touch, working with on conductive carbon nanotubes to mimic nerve pathways. These innovations, while still in development, will eventually lead to more advanced and more functional prosthetics.
Gizmag explains the research below:
Borrowing from conventional methods of making glass fiber, the researchers managed to cram 19,600 individual carbon nanotube-containing channels into fibers just four times thicker than a human hair, putting the artificial structure on a scale similar to the tiny neural bundles that make up our nerve pathways.