Robots to Get Touchy-feely with Sensitive Artificial Skin

14 09 2010

Here is news for robot lovers that soon robots are going to get so sensitive to touch that they would be able to feel. Stanford Scientists have developed a sensor for artificial skin to be used on robots.

The team formed an electronic sensor by sandwiching an exactly molded, highly elastic rubber layer between two analogous electrodes that can detect the least touch.

The novelty in the new sensor is the use of a thin layer of rubber molded into a gridiron of miniature pyramids. The skinny rubber layer between the two electrodes stores electrical charges like a battery. The width of the artificial skin, including the rubber layer and both electrodes, is less than 1 millimeter.

The rate of density and spring back of the rubber is decisive for the sensor to be capable to identify and differentiate between separate touches in fast succession.

Zhenan Bao, an associate professor of chemical engineering who led the research said,” It detects pressures well below the pressure exerted by a 20 milligram bluebottle fly carcass we experimented with, and does so with unprecedented speed.”

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