Researchers at UC Berkeley Create New Artificial Skin, Robots Rejoice

Sep 13, 2010
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Researchers at UC Berkeley Create New Artificial Skin, Robots Rejoice

It seems that several research teams at UC Berkeley are hard at work. With a separate set somewhere else on campus creating backpacks with lasers, there's this team working on what may be the first useful artificial skin ever produced. Synthetic skins have been on the "to-do" list for a long time for scientists all over the planet, but hurdles like poor conductivity, or fragile skin have prevented a suitable creation. But, that looks like it's all about to change.

The team at UC Berkeley has successfully created what they are calling "pressure-sensitive electronic material from semiconductor nanowires." The first milestone for the team of researchers? This is the first material manufactured from inorganic single crystalline semiconductors. The synthetic skin would give robots the ability to determine how much pressure they may or may not need to lift a particular item. Say, for example, an egg.

The other way that the artificial skin could come in handy, would be for humans to "feel" again, courtesy of the touch back from the semiconductor nanowires. It would work with those with artificial hands and limbs, but for now that's just a theory, as the scientists have outlined that for that to work correctly, there would have to be a significant advancement in the way that artificial sensor are integrated into the human body's nervous system. Now that we have robots that can deceive, and future 'bots that will be able to "feel," it looks like robots are beginning to take leaps and bounds into the future (not that they weren't already).

[via MedGadget]


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