robot sense of touch

Touch was thought to be the most difficult sense to replicate.

Robotics has made tremendous strides in replicating the senses of sight and sound, but smell and taste are still lagging behind, and touch was thought to be the most difficult of them all…until new pressure-sensitive electronic skin came along.


The electronic skin is made out of germanium and silicon wrapped around a sticky polyimide film. The prototype measures about 7.6 square inches and can detect different pressures between 0 and 15 kilopascals, which is the range of pressures one might encounter while typing on a keyboard or holding a small object. The skin does this thanks to its rubber skin, which changes its thickness in response to changes in pressure, which is then measured and controlled by built-in capacitors.

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