Scientists Develop Robotic Skin
The human skin is a magnificent sensory organ. It can detect the minutest gust of wind to a single touch. Robots however, are unable to sense the world around them in this fashion. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany, are developing an artificial skin for robots with a similar quality.
The skin will provide important tactile feedback for the robot and augment its existing camera “eyes”, its infrared sensors and gripping tools. As with human skin, the way the artificial skin is touched could trigger different reactions from the robot. It could for example, run away when hit, or use its eyes to see what has touched it.
The centrepiece of the new robotic skin is a five square cm hexagonal plate or circuit board. Each small circuit board contains four infrared sensors that detect anything closer than one cm. There are also six temperature sensors and an accelerometer, which allow the robot to accurately measure the movement of its limbs. The circuit board was designed keeping future expandability in mind, hence it can have more sensors attached as needed.