Over the years, robots have gotten quite good at identifying objects — as long as they’re out in the open.
Discerning buried items in granular material like sand is a taller order. To do that, a robot would need fingers that were slender enough to penetrate the sand, mobile enough to wriggle free when sand grains jam, and sensitive enough to feel the detailed shape of the buried object.
Editor’s Note: This article was republished from MIT New.
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