Scientists have created something amazing that could change the way robots feel forever. They’ve invented a special skin that can allow robots to touch and feel the world just like humans and animals do!
This new invention is called “e-skin”, and it’s made from a thin layer of silicone that’s only 1mm thick. The silicone is embedded with wires and sensitive detectors that can sense a range of movements like bending, stretching, and twisting. This means that robots can experience their physical place in the world, just like you do!
The team from the University of Edinburgh tested the e-skin by fitting it to a soft robot arm. They found that the technology was able to sense a range of complex movements across every part of the device. This is a big deal because soft robots are highly flexible and deformable, which has always posed a problem of how they can carry out precise tasks and interact safely with people.
Dr. Yunjie Yang, who led the study, said that the perceptive senses endowed to robotic devices by this new technology are similar to those of people and animals. This new level of physical self-awareness represents a step change in the sensing capabilities of soft robots.
The e-skin works in combination with artificial intelligence and can allow robots to rapidly sense their motions and deformations with millimetre accuracy in three dimensions, in real-time. This means that robots can be more precise and accurate in their movements and interactions with the world around them.
This new invention has many potential applications, such as creating super-sensitive surgical tools to assist with operations, and creating prosthetics or devices to explore hazardous environments. The e-skin could also be built into a robot’s design or applied as an external layer, making it easy to use and scale up.