Print 11 comment(s) - last by phantom505.. on Jul 4 at 10:33 PM

The Bioloid Robot with 31 hexagonal sensor modules located throughout its body  (Source: Andreas Heddergott / Technische Universitaet Muenchen)
The new robot skin will enable robot self-perception, allowing robots to maneuver their environment

Researchers from the Excellence Cluster CoTeSys at the Technische Universität München (TUM) have created a sensitive skin for robots that allows them to feel temperature and a light touch.

Philip Mittendorfer, study leader and a scientist at the Institute of Cognitive Systems at TUM, and Gordon Cheng, professor at the Institute of Cognitive Systems at TUM, have developed an ultra-sensitive robot skin that will enable robot self-perception, allowing robots to maneuver their environment.

The new robotic skin contains a 5 square centimeter hexagonal circuit board or plate, where each small circuit board holds four infrared sensors that identify anything closer than 1 centimeter. This detects light touch, such as the fine hairs on human skin being stroked. In addition, there are six temperature sensors and one accelerometer, which allow the robot to register the movement of individual limbs. 

The boards are put together to form a planar structure that is worn by the robot. The signals from the sensors are processed by a central computer, which allows each sensory module to pass information along and act as a "data hub" for separate sensory elements. This allows the robot to feel a light touch, a breeze and warmth from the sun. 

This robot skin, coupled with gripping hands, camera eyes and infrared scanners, will allow robots to become more human-like. These sorts of machines could help those who are required to travel through different environments. 

"We try to pack many different sensory modalities into the smallest of spaces," said Mittendorfer. "In addition, it is easy to expand the circuit boards to later include other sensors, for example, pressure."

The skin is not yet complete, but 15 sensors on a small piece of complete skin have shown that the robot skin does work. A light touch to the skin causes the robot arm to react. 

"We will close the skin and generate a prototype which is completely enclosed with these sensors and can interact anew with its environment," said Cheng.

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Just to get this out of the way
By mcnabney on 6/30/2011 10:31:49 PM , Rating: 4

By Mitch101 on 7/2/2011 9:05:14 AM , Rating: 3
Bender: Stay away from our women! You've got metal fever, boy! Metal fever!

By phantom505 on 7/4/2011 10:33:08 PM , Rating: 2
Finally, an upgrade to my Fleshlight. It's about time.

My Robot is out of Date
By JVic on 6/30/2011 7:35:54 PM , Rating: 3
Mine doesn't have this technology and I just bought it yesterday. Should've gone with Best Buy I guess.

RE: My Robot is out of Date
By Black1969ta on 7/2/2011 9:23:19 PM , Rating: 2
You're biggest mistake... You didn't buy the iRobot model. LOL Just wait til Apple makes one and Jobs proclaims the he invented the touchy-feely iBot.

Already having problem...
By bigdawg1988 on 6/30/2011 3:47:29 PM , Rating: 3
they can't get the robots to stop touching themselves. Ah, somebody had to post it.

RE: Already having problem...
By MrBlastman on 6/30/2011 3:59:44 PM , Rating: 1
Watch out, they might blow a gasket...

More lifelike?
By Smartless on 6/30/2011 3:48:08 PM , Rating: 2
I do understand from a sensory view this makes a robot more "lifelike" but.. if I saw a robot covered by these things, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't say its lifelike. Creepy comes to mind.

I do applaud the advances. One step closer to Bubblegum Crisis.

RE: More lifelike?
By icanhascpu on 7/1/2011 7:14:43 AM , Rating: 2
You may be mistaking lifelike with humanlike.

What is the point?
By Owik2008 on 7/1/2011 3:57:58 AM , Rating: 2
How can you build an army of killer robots whereby if they can't get cut, scrapped and burnt...




By kontorotsui on 7/1/2011 7:17:54 AM , Rating: 2
Will they be tempted by flesh?

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