E-Skin For Robots Stretches Like Yours

Stretchable e-skin for robots is being developed by Japanese researchers who apparently hate being touched by traditional rigid, metallicky robots.

This new technology is flexible like rubber but has conductivity that is 570 times higher. It should be possible to make elastic integrated circuits that can stretch up to 1.7 times their original size.


(Stretchable e-skin for robots has sensors)

Non-robotic uses include steering wheel covers; the sensors could judge perspiration, body temperature and other factors to see if you are fit to drive.

The researchers hope to bring the material into production within the next several years.

One application of the material would be artificial skin on robots, said Tsuyoshi Sekitani, a research associate in the team.

"As robots enter our everyday life, they need to have sensors everywhere on their bodies like humans," he told AFP.

"Imagine they bump into babies. Robots need to feel temperatures, heat and pressure like we do to co-exist. Otherwise it would be dangerous," he said.

Take a look at Robot Skin Soft Like Yours and Robots Get Pressure-Sensitive Skin if you are also occasionally repulsed by the touch of your robot (say, early in the morning).

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.

From Japanese researchers eye 'e-skin' for robots.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/13/2008)

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