Joe Romano, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, modified a robot to sense objects and pick them up without either crushing or dropping them:
This information has already been used to allow the robot to quickly stop after contact before damaging itself or the environment, naturally pass objects to a person, or detect when an object has been set down on a tabletop.
The goal of this work was to allow the robot to understand the sensory information that arises from contact with the environment, intelligently reason about what is happening in the world, and decide what the appropriate robot response should be. Using this tactile approach, the PR2 can delicately grasp a wide range of unknown objects, such as raw fruit, eggs, and heavy liquid-filled containers, all without crushing or dropping them. The PR2 can also quickly detect contacts between its arms and objects in the world, as well as contact between hand-held objects and the world.
Link via GearFuse