It seems that robots are quickly becoming part of our daily lives whether we like it or not. Soon, we might get robot babysitter capable of saying precisely if your baby has a fever. At least this is what a new study claims.
According to a team of researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, they have successfully managed to develop the first recyclable and healable electronic skin. They named it the e-skin. A paper presenting their results was published in the journal Science Advances.
The scientists state that this new invention mimics the mechanical properties and functions that were, until now, characteristics of real skin. It seems that this electronic skin can measure vibrations, temperature, and even pressure.
It’s worth noting that the e-skin was first invented back in 2011. However, this new and updated version is actually reusable. This way, the manufacturing costs along with production waste are reduced.
The Electronic Skin to Give Robots a Human Touch?
This electronic skin can reportedly be used for a variety of things, from biomedicine to prosthetics. For someone who lost a limb, a prosthetic arm or leg covered in the electronic skin could offer them a broad range of opportunities by making them able to feel temperature and pressure.
The scientists used polymer and silver nanoparticles in developing the e-skin. This makes it more easily adaptable to curved areas like toes or other fingers.
However, according to Jianliang Xiao, a mechanical engineer and the study’s lead author, the area in which the e-skin might help the most is robotics. He thinks that these new attributes might make the interaction between humans and robots a lot safer.
Sensing is one of the main things that robots lacked when interacting with people. So, it’s crucial for them to be able to acknowledge specific changes in order to react accordingly. This way, robots could stop from becoming violent or hurting people by mistake.
While the image of a robot wrapped in e-skin might be a bit terrifying, this new development might also prove to be extremely useful in the future.
Image source: Wikimedia