The biomimetic elastomeric skin of a robot has tactile sense abilities
Researchers at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have developed a biomimetic elastomeric skin for robots that can sense touch. They worked with MIT and the University of Stuttgart. Their work was published in Science Robotics.
Roboticists are working to improve robot capabilities and make them more like humans. Researchers gave a robotic arm the ability, in this new attempt, to detect sensations such as a touch, tickling or wind. This was achieved by partly imitating the skin of a human.
The new skin of the robot is multi-layered like that of a human, allowing for multiple functions. The top layer is made from a rubbery polymer that resembles human skin. The researchers then added a layer of hydrogel below that to mimic the epidermis. The researchers chose a hydrogel that not only deforms but also jiggles if bumped. The skin can sense a finger pressing by embedding sensors that detect these reactions. The system measures the ripples created in the hydrogel when something taps it.