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Researchers at Stanford University have been able to develop a touch-sensitive skin for androids and prosthetics, The “skin” has a gooey texture and allows robots sensitivity to touch, as well as allow amputees to regain feeling in their artificial limbs.

The plastic skin makes use of carbon nanotubes, which are embedded into the skin as tiny, compressible springs. These tubes work as sensors as they bend and squeeze, allowing it to measure the forces applied to most materials, whether it is plastic or rubber.

“This sensor can register pressure ranging from a firm pinch between your thumb and forefinger to twice the pressure exerted by an elephant standing on one foot,” said postdoctoral researcher Darren Lipomi, who takes part in this research.

The skin’s sensitivity is activated as it is pushed and pulled, wherein its sensors register an electrical charge that can be used to sense where and how it is being touched. So far, the skin can sense pressures “well below the pressure exerted by a 20 milligram bluebottle fly carcass.”

Source: Stanford University News, via TechCrunch

 
 

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