Psychophysics & the bizarre science behind robots that know what we want

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If you have a physical disability that makes it difficult to feed yourself, a teleoperated robotic arm might help. Small industrial robotic arms have been adapted to wheelchairs for exactly that purpose. With advances in actuator technology, the precision and capabilities of those arms has improved dramatically.

But those improvements, which are supposed to make life even easier for the user, paradoxically make the robots much harder to control. With multiple degrees of freedom and complex grippers, the training and dexterity required to teleoperate the robots makes them less viable as aids to those with certain kinds of disabilities.

But what if a robot could predict what its operator wanted?

More robotics

“Think about last time you did


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