The GelSight sensor is an incredible technological achievement that allows robots to develop a tactile sense of the world around them.
The sensor is an adaptation, by a team of researchers at MIT and Northeastern University, of an existing technology called GelSight. In their video demonstration, a robotic arm equipped with a GelSight sensor can be seen performing the task of placing a USB cable into an adapter. While this may not seem like much at first, the video later compares the initial demonstration to that of the same robot performing the same task, without a GelSight sensor. The difference is night and day, as the second robot utterly fails in its task.
The team believes that advancements in the GelSight sensor will allow for the creations of robots who will be "more independent" and "better able to manipulate their environment."