With this in mind, SynTouch has built its BioTac sensor to emulate this reaction by producing heat and pressure on its own, just like a real finger would. But in order to teach the sensor how to process this information, its engineers have developed the "SynTouch Standard" — a comprehensive collection of 500 different materials classified based on 15 different factors, which includes friction and smoothness, Sarah Fecht writes for Popular Science.
By categorizing these materials to teach the robots differences in texture, SynTouch has almost accidentally created a texture standard for manufacturers. Companies could use these standards to more easily judge fabrics that are used for everything from the newest runway styles to car seat covers.
Testing drones in North Dakota, with its wide-open spaces, farms, and oil fields, neatly sidesteps many of the safety and privacy issues facing drones in more populated areas. The state is also fostering drone pilots: "[T]he University of North Dakota, which already trains many of the nation's commercial pilots and the air traffic controllers of some 18 countries, has 200 students learning to fly drones in a four-year program that started in 2009; 61 students have graduated from it. North Dakota State University, in Fargo, has also started teaching drone courses."