Skin May Offer Robots Skin Sense, Say Researchers

Representational Image

"What is unique here is that the chemical bonding of polyimine we use allows the e-skin to be both self-healing and fully recyclable at room temperature", assistant Professor Jianliang Xiao, who is leading the research effort with CU Boulder chemistry and biochemistry associate professor Wei Zhang, was quoted as saying in a news release.

Surely, an electronic skin, saw as e-skin, is a thin, translucent material that can imitate the capacity and mechanical qualities of human skin.

"All things considered, you would coordinate e-skin on the robot fingers that can feel the weight of the infant".

Researchers at University of Colorado Boulder have developed an electronic skin that can be recycled and it can also heal itself.

The study regarding the advancement was published in the journal of Science Advances.

The e-skin's ability to sense pressure is a crucial factor for improving prosthetic limbs.

Professor Zhang said: "Let's say you wanted a robot to take care of a baby".

The idea for e-skin has been around since 2011, but this is the first version that can be reused, reducing waste and lessening manufacturing costs.

But for robots that physically interact with humans, e-skins are very important to provide sensing and feedback of touching, holding and monitoring.

The healing of broken or cut e-skin is done by soaking it into a recycling solution, after which the electronic skin regains the properties of the original e-skin.

The authors of the study explained that this breakthrough discovery also makes a great contribution to the robotics and human interaction with robots, as now there will be less chance of robots hurting people in the future.

He however added that in the future, the tech could be used to give robots "skin" much like Arnold Schwarzenegger's iconic character, reports Daily Express.

An additional advantage of the novel CU Boulder e-skin is that it can be easily conformed to curved surfaces like human arms and robotic hands by giving medium heat and pressure to it in absence of introduction of surplus stresses.

Another remarkable property of the electronic skin is its ability to heal itself albeit the process involved is not as remarkable as that seen in the robots featured in the movie Terminator.

Xiao said, "The recycled solution and nanoparticles can then be used to make new, functional e-skin." .



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