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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Creating Touch Sensation in Robot

Posted by Prahallad Panda on 1:28 PM Comments

They have come up with technology touch sensation for artificial skin. It can sense sitting of a butterfly. It may actually be helpful for people with artificial limb. But, technology to connect to the human nervous system is yet to develop.

Amplify’d from www.reuters.com

Artificial "skin" materials can sense pressure

CHICAGO (Reuters) - New artificial "skin" fashioned out of flexible semiconductor materials can sense touch, making it possible to create robots with a grip delicate enough to hold an egg, yet strong enough to grasp the frying pan, U.S. researchers said on Sunday.



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Javey's team found a way to make ultra tiny "nanowires" from an alloy of silicon and germanium. Wires of this material were formed on the outside of a cylindrical drum, which was then rolled onto a sticky film, depositing the wires in a uniform pattern.

Sheets of this semiconductor film were then coated with a layer of pressure-sensitive rubber. Tests of the material showed it was able to detect a range of force, from typing on a keyboard to holding an object.

A second team led by Zhenan Bao, a chemical engineer at Stanford University in California, used a different approach, making a material so sensitive it can detect the weight of a butterfly resting on it.

Bao's sensors were made by sandwiching a precisely molded, highly elastic rubber layer between two electrodes in a regular grid of tiny pyramids.

"We molded it into some kind of microstructure to incorporate some air pockets," Bao said in a telephone interview. "If we introduce air pockets, then these rubber pieces can bounce back."

When this material is stretched, the artificial skin measures the change in electrical activity. "The change in the thickness of the material is converted into an electrical signal," she said.

Eventually, the teams hope artificial skin could be used to restore the sense of touch in people with prosthetic limbs, but scientists will first need a better understanding of how to integrate the system's sensors with the human nervous system.

Read more at www.reuters.com
 


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