Artificial skin is sensitive to even the slightest pressure

September 13th, 2010 - 8:36 pm ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

Sep 13 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Scientists have announced that they have successfully developed an artificial “skin” that is sensitive to touch.

The development is a milestone for scientists who are looking for ways to develop robots that are capable of applying different amount of pressure when holding different materials. For instance scientists want to fashion robots that will be able to apply the force needed to hold the cooking ware firmly and handle an egg delicately.

Scientists say the development of the skin will help them clear a critical hurdle in the development of the robot.

Two teams of researchers were involved in the development of the “skin”. One of the teams was led by Ali Javey, electrical engineer from University of California Berkeley and the other team was led by Zhenan Bao, who is a chemical engineer at the Stanford University in California.

The first team led by Ali developed the force detectable device using tiny wires that were rolled onto a sticky film and coated with pressure sensitive rubber. After the development, the device showed the ability to detect difference in force.

The second team however used a different technique to make a sensitive device that was able to detect the weight of a butterfly that was resting on it.

In the wildest application, scientists hope to be able to use the artificial “skin” to restore the sense of touch into people who have lost that ability. However, that will require integration into the nervous system and the scientists will have that to worry about.

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