Scientists at the University of Glasgow have invented a robot skin that surpasses human flesh.
Professor Ravinder Dahiya and his team created a silicone and graphine skin which provides haptic feedback to the user. The thin layer of graphine acts as a sensor, making the electronic skin (e-skin) very sensitive to touch. It’s also flexible and cheap to manufacture.
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Professor Dahiya told Forbes, “It is one order of magnitude better than human skin.”
Did I mention it’s solar-powered? Because it’s solar-powered. The hand operates from a photovoltaic cell and is fully autonomous. A solar panel that catches the light rests just underneath the transparent e-skin.
The research paper says this e-skin could be used for both prostheses and on robots. The benefits for human prostheses are obvious, but for robots, there’s an opportunity for something else: gentleness. If a robot can sense it’s holding something soft, it might adjust its handling without having to be told do so.
Or it could crush what it’s holding. The Terminator had skin too.