Robots Get Pressure-Sensitive Skin

Organic field-effect transistors have been used to fabricate pressure-sensitive skin for robots, according to an abstract published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.



(From Artificial Skins)

Why is this good news? Because all of these fancy robots you've been reading about have wonderful machine vision and even voice recognition, but they don't have a good sense of touch. At present, it is not possible to manufacture large area skin with thousands of silicon-based electronic pressure sensors with good mechanical flexibility. Organic field-effect transistors and rubber pressure sensors are used to create a practical artifical skin.

One sf robot that could demonstrate how pressure-sensitive skin could be used was Rolem the wrestling robot from This Immortal, a classic Roger Zelazny novel. An exquisite appreciation of force across wide surface areas would be needed to make sure a wrestling robot did not damage its user.

See also Takao Someya Group - Organic Transistor Laboratory and A large-area, flexible pressure sensor matrix with organic field-effect transistors for artificial skin applications. From Flexible, Pressure-sensitive robot skin

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