Robots And Prosthetic Wearers To Get A Sense Of Touch

Posted on Sep 16 2010 - 11:00am by Matt Jackson

A touch sensitive skin may not sound all that ground breaking a development but in reality it has applications both in robotics and prosthetics. A mass of semiconductors are placed within the ultra thin mesh material and transmits and receives data so that, in the future and following further development, robots fitted with the technology would be able to lightly grip fragile objects and tightly grasp heavier and more robust objects. The same technology could alslo be used to offer patients with prosthetics the opportunity to feel again.

Testing and development are both still in the early stages but look positive. A number of attempts at creating an artificial skin have failed in the past typically through the use of too rigid a material to create the skin. Other problems have included the transmission of too little electricity. Regardless of the reasons for failure, the latest in e-skin is being dubbed as promising.

Robots have a whole raft of real world uses and a variety of factors hold them back from being of further benefit. Gripping items is difficult because the robotic hand is not able to transmit or receive data in the same way or with the same level of intricacy as the human hand. However, e-skin advances that. Of course, robots will still lack the intelligence and recognition of humans so would need some kind of input when picking up fragile items that might indicate that they need to be careful.

Another slated use of the fake skin is to give prosthetic wearing patients a sense of feeling in their prosthetic limbs. While prosthesis has advanced considerably in recent years, giving the patient a greater sense of feeling will also allow for greater use and less clumsiness in their false limbs.

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