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E-Skin Gives Robots a Human Touch

Stanford scientists have created an e-skin that mimics the structure of real skin to measure the direction of applied pressure in real time.

E-Skin / Image: Z Bao
E-Skin / Image: Z Bao

While robots have been used in manufacturing and surgery for decades, the more delicate tasks have always been reserved for the sensitive touch of a human hand. However, according to a recent Physics World article, a new development in artificial skin could change the trend by enabling sense touch in robots.

Researchers at Stanford University took inspiration from the spinosum in real human skin to create a highly sensitive artificial skin capable of detecting pressure direction in real time. The e-skin was tested on a glove worn by an artificial hand attached to a robotic arm that was used to handle delicate objects like ping pong balls and raspberries without crushing them. The development could soon find applications in robot-assisted surgery or production lines for delicate objects like eggs and soft fruit.

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