Fingerprints: More Than Just Finger Decoration

Nature has reported on recent research that suggests that fingerprints help to amplify nerve inputs at the fingertips. The spacing and distance of fingerprint ridges can selectively amplify certain frequencies of vibrations, thereby making your fingers more sensitive.

They know this because they added fingerprints to a robot and it could sense things better. This was not attempted on humans without fingerprints, since the process of burning off skin would possibly conflict the results. Some have speculated that wrinkly people are more sensitive than smooth people, and some have suggested that sensory perception is heightened after prolonged water exposure (i.e. does a towel feel fluffier after a 5 or 30 minute shower?). Then again, some are idiots.

No attempt has been made yet to link between the affect of ridges on the finger and the more fulfilling taste caused by ridges in potato chips.

So be grateful for you fingerprints, even when they convict you in a court of law.

The best part of the article was the following line: “Most robots have fairly crude tactile senses that can’t distinguish different textures, but such capabilities might eventually be useful for medical robots performing delicate surgery.”

Feel pretty good about the person who gets to test how sensitive a robot’s hand are on their appendix?

The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.

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