I never really stop to think much about the testing behind the scenes that goes into perfecting new products, especially the touch screen sort that will be handled a lot by the end user. Microsoft's cool Surface 2.0 screens have a lot of testing that goes into bringing the products to market. To help speed the testing of the Surface 2.0 device Microsoft uses a cool custom robot called Patty to press and fondle the screen.
Patty sits on an aluminum frame with six motors inside that allow it to move all around to reach the entire screen of the Surface 2.0 device. It has all these little projections that press down on the screen and the projections have different types of tips to simulate different objects. Some of the tips have tags on them that simulate tagged objects, others have tags on them that simulate a finger, and others have clay blobs.
Most of the points appear to just be blunt points. Patty has 80 probes and replaced the previous robot that was used before with one probe. Patty can also simulate multitouch robots. The probes are air driven. The blog post about Patty has a video of the bot and teases another bot that we get no details on called Squiddy. Patty is an interesting tool.