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  • I'm a mechanical engineering professor

  • at the University of Pennsylvania

  • and my favorite hobby is photography.

  • And as I travel around the world,

  • I love taking photographs like these

  • so I can remember all the beautiful

  • and interesting things that I've seen.

  • But what I can't do is record and share

  • how these objects feel to touch.

  • And that's kind of surprising

  • because your sense of touch is really important.

  • It's involved in every physical interaction you do every day,

  • every manipulation task,

  • anything you do in the world.

  • And so the sense of touch is actually pretty interesting.

  • It has two main components.

  • The first is tactile sensations,

  • things you feel in your skin.

  • And the second is kinesthetic sensations,

  • and this has to do with the position of your body,

  • and how it's moving,

  • and the forces you encounter.

  • And you're really good at incorporating

  • both of these types of sensations together

  • to understand the physical interactions

  • you have with the world

  • and understand as you touch a surface,

  • is it a rock, is it a cat, is it a bunny, what is it?

  • And so, as an engineer, I'm really fascinated

  • and I have a lot of respect for

  • how good people are with their hands.

  • And I'm intrigued and curious

  • about whether we could make technology better

  • by doing a better job at leveraging

  • the human capability with the sense of touch.

  • Could I improve the interfaces to computers and machines

  • by letting you take advantage of your hands?

  • And indeed, I think we can,

  • and that's at the core of a field called "haptics,"

  • and this is the area that I work in.

  • It's all about interactive touch technology.

  • And the way it works is,

  • as you move your body through the world,

  • if, as an engineer, I can make a system

  • that can measure that motion,

  • and then present to you sensations over time

  • that kind of make sense,

  • that match up with what you might feel in the real world,

  • I can fool you into thinking you're touching something

  • even though there's nothing there.

  • All right, so here are three examples

  • and these are all done from research in my lab at Penn.

  • The first one is all about

  • that same problem that I was showing you:

  • how can we capture how objects feel

  • and recreate those experiences?

  • So the way we solve this problem

  • is by creating a hand-held tool

  • that has many different sensors inside.

  • It has a force sensor

  • so we can tell how hard you're pushing,

  • it has motion tracking

  • so we tell exactly where you've moved it,

  • and it has a vibration sensor,

  • an accelerometer, inside

  • that detects the shaking back and forth of the tool

  • that let's you know that's a piece of canvas

  • and not a piece of silk or something else.

  • And then we take the data that we record

  • from these interactions.

  • Here's ten seconds of data.

  • You can see how the vibrations get larger and smaller,

  • depending on how you move.

  • And we make a mathematical model of those relationships

  • and program them into a tablet computer

  • so that when you take the stylus

  • and go and touch the screen,

  • that voice coil actuator in the white bracket

  • plays vibrations to give you the illusion

  • that you're touching the real surface

  • just like if you touched, dragged back and forth,

  • on the real canvas.

  • We can create very compelling illusions.

  • We can do this for all kinds of surfaces

  • and it's really a lot of fun.

  • We call it haptography,

  • haptic photography.

  • And I think it has potential benefits

  • in all sorts of areas like online shopping,

  • maybe interactive museum exhibits,

  • where you're not really supposed to touch

  • the precious artifacts, but you always want to.

  • The second example that I want to tell you about

  • comes from a collaboration I have

  • with Dr. Margrit Maggio at the Penn dental school.

  • Part of her job is to teach dental students

  • how to tell where in a patient's mouth

  • there are cavities.

  • Of course they look at x-rays,

  • but a large part of this clinical judgment

  • comes from what they feel

  • when they touch your teeth with a dental explorer.

  • You guys have all had this happen, they go across.

  • What they're feeling for is if the tooth is really hard,

  • then it's healthy,

  • but if it's kind of soft and sticky,

  • that's a signal that the enamel is starting to decay.

  • And these types of judgments are hard

  • for a new dental student to make

  • because they haven't touched a lot of teeth yet.

  • And you want them to learn this

  • before they start practicing on real human patients.

  • So what we do is we add an accelerometer

  • on to the dental explorer

  • and then we record what Dr. Maggio feels

  • as she touches different extracted teeth.

  • And we can play it back for you as a video

  • with a touch track.

  • So not just a sound track, but also a touch track

  • that you can feel by holding that repeating tool.

  • You can feel all the same things

  • that the dentist felt when they did the recording

  • and practice making judgments.

  • So here's a sample one.

  • Here's a tooth that looks kind of suspicious, right?

  • It has all those brown stains,

  • and you might be thinking,

  • "Oh, we should definitely put a filling in this tooth."

  • But truly, if you pay attention to how it feels,

  • all the surfaces of this tooth are hard and healthy

  • so this patient does not need a filling.

  • And these are exactly the kind of judgments

  • that doctors make every day

  • and I think this technology that we've invented

  • has a lot of potential for many different things

  • in medical training because it's really simple

  • and it does a great job at recreating

  • what people feel through tools.

  • I think it could also maybe help make games

  • more interactive and fun

  • and more realistic in the sensations that you feel.

  • The last example I want to tell you about

  • is again about human movement.

  • So if any of you have ever learned sports,

  • you know, how do you get good at something like surfing?

  • You practice.

  • You practice some more and more, right?

  • Making small corrections,

  • maybe getting some input from a coach,

  • learning how to improve your motions.

  • I think we could use computers

  • to help make that process more efficient and more fun.

  • And so here, for example,

  • if I have six different arm movements

  • that I want you to learn,

  • you come into my lab at Penn

  • and try out our system.

  • We use a Kinect to measure your motions,

  • we show graphics on the screen,

  • and then we also give you touch cues,

  • haptic feedback, on your arm

  • delivered by these haptic arm bands,

  • which have motors inside

  • and guide you as you move.

  • So, if we put it together,

  • as you're trying to track this motion,

  • if you deviate,

  • say maybe your arm is a little too high,

  • we turn on the motors that are right there on the skin

  • to let you know, hey, you should move down,

  • almost like a coach gently guiding you

  • and helping you master these movements more quickly

  • and make more precise corrections.

  • We developed this system for use in stroke rehabilitation,

  • but I think there are a lot of applications,

  • like maybe dance training

  • or all sorts of sports training as well.

  • And so, now you know a little bit

  • about the field of haptics,

  • which I think you're going to hear more about in the coming years.

  • I've shown you three examples,

  • and I just want to take a moment

  • to acknowledge all of the great students

  • who work with me in my lab at Penn

  • and my collaborators,

  • they're a great group.

  • And I also want to thank you for your kind attention.

  • (Applause)

I'm a mechanical engineering professor

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B1 TED-Ed touch dental penn haptic tooth

【TED-Ed】Haptography: Digitizing our sense of touch - Katherine Kuchenbecker

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    阿多賓 posted on 2014/02/06
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