Scientists inspired by Star Wars develop artificial skin capable of recreating sense of touch

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A researcher at the NUS demonstrates the self-healing abilities of an artificial, transparent skin

ACES, or Asynchronous Coded Electronic Skin, comprises up to 100 small sensors to replicate a sense of feeling.

  • Researchers say it can process information faster than the nervous system
  • The skin is able to recognise 20 to 30 different textures
  • The technology is still in the experimental stage

Singapore researchers have developed “electronic skin” capable of recreating a sense of touch, an innovation they hope will allow people with prosthetic limbs to detect objects, as well as feel texture, or even temperature and pain.

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Skin-like, flexible sensor lets robots detect us

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A new sensor for robots is designed to make our physical interactions with these machines a little smoother—and safer. The sensor, which is now being commercialized, allows robots to measure the distance and angle of approach of a human or object in close proximity.

Industrial robots often work autonomously to complete tasks. But increasingly, collaborative robots are working alongside humans. To avoid collisions in these circumstances, collaborative robots need highly accurate sensors to detect when someone (or something) is getting a little too close.

Many sensors have been developed for this purpose, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Those that rely on sound and light (for example, infrared or ultrasonic time-of-flight sensors) measure the reflections of those signals and must therefore be closely aligned with the approaching object, which limits their field of detection.

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‘It’s like you have a hand again’: A major breakthrough in robotic limb technology

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Grafting tiny bits of muscle to amputated nerves provides a way to control a robotic limb

Joe Hamilton intuitively controls a prosthetic hand using the Regenerative Peripheral Nerve Interface, or RPNI, in a lab on the University of Michigan Medical Campus. (Evan Dougherty/University of Michigan Engineering)

Researchers with the University of Michigan have announced a breakthrough in nerve-controlled prosthetic technology, which allows amputees the ability to control their hands and fingers precisely, intuitively, and in real time.

They’re claiming it as a major advancement in mind-controlled prosthetics.

“The idea of trying to get a prosthetic control signal from a nerve has been around at least as long as Empire Strikes Back,” Cindy Chestek told Quirks & Quarks host Bob McDonald. “It’s just been really hard to do because the physics is not in your favour.”

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The artificial skin that allows robots to feel

This artificial skin lets robots ‘feel’ like humans can

London (CNN Business)Robots are one step closer to gaining a human sense that has so far eluded them: Touch.

Scientists last month unveiled an artificial skin that enables robots to feel and respond to physical contact, a skill that will be needed as they come in increasingly close contact with people.

In 2017, manufacturers worldwide used roughly 85 industrial robots per 10,000 employees, according to a report by the International Federation of Robotics. The same report predicts the global supply of industrial robots to grow 14% per year until 2021.

But if robots end up working more closely with their fleshy colleagues, one concern is how they will interact safely.

“Currently, robots do not have any sense of touch,” Professor Gordon Cheng, who developed the special skin with his team at the Technical University of Munich, tells CNN Business.

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A prosthetic leg that can sense touch makes it easier for amputees to walk

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The prosthesis tries to replicate the nervous system’s feedback loop.

The issue: People who walk on both legs rely on constant feedback between their nerves and their brain to get around. But people using a prosthesis don’t have this brain-foot loop, which can make harder to walk confidently. A new bionic prosthesis, developed by researchers from ETH Zurich and the Universities of Belgrade and Freiburg, and described in Nature Medicine today, tries to make it easier for amputees to get around by letting them “feel” surfaces again.

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Need A Helping Hand?

Need A Helping Hand? 

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Next time you thought you need someone to lend a helping hand, think of this Third Arm. The whole idea seems supernatural but for Stelarc, it was more of a tangible concept. He is the same Australian performance artist who hung himself naked from flesh-piercing hooks attached to ropes. Well, this superficial arm will couple with your right arm and is shrewdly capable of independent motion. It is triggered into action by the EMG signals of the abdominal and leg muscles.

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