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Of Skin and Bones: Scientists Develop Artificial Skin for Robots That Can Feel Things Humans Can’t

Researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have developed a new artificial skin for robots that can sense a wider variety of stimuli than normal skin, making it much more complex and capable than regular human skin.


Building upon previously developed artificial skin, researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have developed a new artificial skin that can sense a wider variety of stimuli than normal, making it much more complex and capable than regular human skin. Image Credit: Pexels

A team of researchers and scientists at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore are all set to make robots more capable than humans. The researchers claim that they have developed artificial skin which has more sensing capabilities than regular human skin and can respond to a wider variety of stimuli


The team from Nanyang Technological University have created what they are calling dual-responsive artificial skin. Instead of only detecting pressure that is applied to it, the skin can also sense the object’s approach. “We created artificial skin with sensing capabilities superior to human skin,” said Yifan Wang, an assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.


“Unlike human skin that senses most information from touching actions, this artificial skin also obtains rich cognitive information encoded in touchless or approaching operations. The work could lead to next-generation robotic perception technologies superior to existing tactile sensors” he added.


The new artificial skin has a lot of potential applications, but it will primarily be used for robotics, especially in second-generation electronics that are based on human-machine interfaces.


The newly developed artificial skin can also be a great fit for prostheses, offering amputees new ways of feeling and sensing objects.


The researchers have already run several tests, that highlight how it is similar, or better than actual, real, human skin. The most important test that the skin passed involved scrolling an electronic screen navigating using a digital and playing video games.


This isn’t the first time that scientists have developed artificial skin. In 2022, scientists at CalTech or the California Institute of Technology developed a skin that could sense temperature, pressure, and whether something is toxic or not.


The skin developed by Nanyang Technological University is superior in a number of ways. The artificial skin was able to detect different signals from approaching targets, meaning it is possible for the skin to identify objects without being touched.


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