WHAT IS HAPTICS? Haptics is the term for incorporating touch into digital or robotic environments. It may be used to program resistance into a joystick for gaming, or to add a touch sensation to gloves used in a virtual reality simulation. This way, when manipulating a virtual object, a user is able to be certain when it collides with another object, and not forced to rely on what he or she sees. Compare what it is like to walk normally and when your foot has fallen asleep. Similar to the benefit of having full feeling in your feet, adding touch to a virtual environment makes interactions less awkward and more life-like.
WHAT ARE ROBOTS? Robots are manmade machines intended to replicate human and animal behavior. Robots are made of roughly the same components as human beings: a body structure with moveable joints; a muscle system outfitted with motors and actuators to move that body structure; a sensory system to collect information from the surrounding environment; a power source to activate the actuators and sensors; and a computer "brain" system to process sensory information and tell the muscles what to do.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.