If you're driving around in a 2013 Ford Fusion and think to yourself, "My, but this seat is comfortable," there's a good chance you have RUTH the robot to thank.
Ford's Robotized Unit for Tactility and Haptics -- a modified consumer packaging arm that tests interiors for quality and comfort -- has crossed the Atlantic from Europe to bring her touchy-feely testing skills to North America.
The robot simulates human motor skills to measure parameters like roughness, hardness, and temperature on points such as the steering wheel, knobs, and armrests. RUTH has already been used for several years at the automaker's European Research Center in Aachen, Germany, to poke and prod European versions of the Focus and Fiesta.
RUTH 2.0, located at Ford's Product Development Center in Dearborn, Mich., measures seat comfort too. She has extended her six-jointed arm all over the seats of the 2013 Fusion, the first North American car headed to production that she's had a major hand (or arm, we should say) in testing. … Read more