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Virtual Dictionary


Mechanoreceptors are the touch sensory receptors of the organic body – nature's equivalent to tactile sensors. They come in several different types, including Pacinian corpuscles, Meissner's corpuscles, Merkel's discs, and Ruffini corpuscles among other, more specialised types.

The different types pick up many different tactile sensations that combine into our single sense of touch. Some are slow adapting, some are fast adapting. Some have a very small receptive field, but a high sensitivity. Others have a very large receptive field but a comparatively low sensitivity.

The mechanoreceptors work in a multi-modal fashion. For example, if you hold your biological fingertips against the edge of a table or desk, you can feel the corner as a continuing effect; the slow-adapting Meissner and Merkel corpuscles detect local pressure and skin stretching. On the other hand, the detection of scratches in the desk's polished surface requires motion of the fingertips across the surface, triggering fast-acting mechanoreceptors such as the Pacinian corpuscles.

In order to embody the sense of touch in immersive avatars, telepresence embodiment, or AI controlled robotics, or smart prosthetics, the artificial sensor systems used, must follow this same multi-modal approach, blending multiple types of sensors into a single sense.

See Also: Embodiment, Haptics, Virtual Embodiment, Somatosensory System, Tactile Sensor

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Smart Prosthetic

Tactile Sensor


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