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Haptics

There’s a nice article over at the Singularity Hub that’s a round-up of currently-available haptics devices.  They seem primarily excited over the prospects of haptics in gaming, but there are two reasons we’re interested in developments.

First is simply telerobotics, as in Feynman Path manipulation.  We want the feedback to help develop an intuitive feel for mechanism at all the scales from here to molecular.

The second is for robotics/AI. A haptic telerobot control means that all the signals, motor and sensory alike, have to be handled and transmitted.  It’s all too common in robotics to try to get away with too little feedback, and it’s much worse in the upper levels of AI. Any trend in full-duplex control software is likely to contribute to the development of robust AI, IMHO.

2 Responses to “Haptics”

  1. Jeffrey Soreff Says:

    Haptics is a bit less of a help for nanotechnology than it
    seems. The problem is the time scale. If someone operates
    a nanoscale mechanical device through a haptic interface,
    they will be able to “feel” all of the quasi-static force
    fields (appropriately scaled), and this will be a help.
    If the machinery’s intended operating frequency is e.g.
    megahertz, then manual operation won’t feel the inertial
    forces in the system. It the operator manipulates the
    machine on a roughly 1 hertz frequency, they will “feel”
    inertial forces a million times smaller than they will
    be in operation. Not a show stopper, but a significant
    limitation.

  2. J Storrs Hall Says:

    A limitation certainly, especially in the sense that the operator will only able to use the nanomachine a million times slower than it’s capable of operating. However, I wouldn’t expect inertial forces to be enormously important to early designs at the nanoscale. Static forces, e.g. van der Waals adhesion, are significantly greater in most cases. Most the designs in Nanosystems don’t use it — I can think of only two cases a flywheel effect is used, off the top of my head. Almost all the designs, partly in the interest of being lower-bound proofs of concept, allow for vibrations to die off at every stage, for example. This allows for an almost Aristotelian, statics-only design regime. This in turn leads to machines that are simpler in concept (and particularly in analysis) albeit a lot slower in operation than ones designed using the full dynamics available.

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