facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Human touch much more sensitive than thought, down to nano-scale

Sept. 17, 2013 at 6:58 PM   |   Comments

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- The human sense of touch is more acute than previously realized, say Swedish scientists who conducted first-ever measurements of human tactile perception.

Experiments at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have shown people can detect wrinkles at the nano-scale while running their fingers over a seemingly smooth surface, they reported.

The human finger can discriminate between surfaces patterned with ridges as small as 13 nanometers in amplitude and non-patterned surfaces, surface chemistry Professor Mark Rutland said.

"This means that, if your finger was the size of the Earth, you could feel the difference between houses [and] cars," Rutland said. "That is one of the most enjoyable aspects of this research. We discovered that a human being can feel a bump corresponding to the size of a very large molecule."

The findings could lead to such advances as touch screens for the visually impaired and other products, the researchers said.

"The important thing is that touch was previously the unknown sense," Rutland said. "To make the analogy with vision, it is as if we have just revealed how we perceive color."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Most Popular
1
Tropical storm Karina looks like the number 9 from space
2
Study explains why ER nurses do what they do
3
Tech industry All Stars developing 'Star Trek'-style communication badges
4
Researchers dig up earliest evidence of snail-eating
5
Neanderthals and humans interacted for thousands of years
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback