Jun 9, 2022

Biomimetic elastomeric robot skin has tactile sensing abilities

Posted by in categories: materials, robotics/AI

A team of researchers at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, working with one colleague from MIT and another from the University of Stuttgart, has developed a biomimetic elastomeric robot skin that has tactile sensing abilities. Their work has been published in the journal Science Robotics.

Roboticists continue to work on improving robot abilities and to make them more human-like. In this new effort, the researchers gave a the ability to detect such sensations as a pat, tickling, wind, or something stroking its surface. They accomplished this by partially imitating .

The new robot is multi-layered, like human skin, to allow for different functions. The top layer is made of a rubber-like polymer resembling human skin. Beneath that, the researchers added a hydrogel to imitate the human epidermis. They chose a hydrogel because it not only deforms when pressed, but jiggles when bumped. By embedding sensors to detect these reactions, the skin is able to sense things like a finger press by monitoring the pressure of the hydrogel and the direction of its movement. If something taps against it, the system senses and measures in the hydrogel to gauge what the tap felt like.

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