New York – Researchers at Cornell University in New York, have developed a new artificial skin type that can stretch, sense and respond to touch, giving a more humanly form to robotics and narrowing the bridge to human-robot interaction.

One of the main problems of electronic developments in robotics is the fact that electronics can’t handle pressure and there’s not a material, in the current market, that allows electronics to stretch without losing its original size. But the material created by Chris Larson and his team, can be stretched to more than six times its original size and can sense touch, inspired by the flexibility and color- changing organs of squids and octopuses.

Robots with artificial skin could, one day, dart around sharp corners, change color and glow in the dark. Photo : Chris Larson/ Cornell University.

Researchers at Cornell University developed a stretchy material, with an hyperrealistic light- emitting capacitor called HLEC. The material is embedded in a silicone and the capacitors of the material respond to changes in pressure and act like sensors. Also, the capacitors contain zinc sulfide that allows them to change colors, with the addition of transition metals that it creates different colors.

Larson’s team believes that color changing material will open more the bridge for human-robot interaction, allowing more emotional connection with humans. It is also expected, the use of this artificial skin in the development of healthcare robots, displaying the patient’s temperature and pulse.

Rob Shepherd, the assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, assured that the material can stretch and change shapes, which is a huge innovation in the artificial skin market.Previously artificial skin was limited to only 120 percent of its original size.

There’s also negotiation with big American automobile companies to replace touch screen interfaces in cars with this new material, so the driver doesn’t need to look away from the road.

Source: HNGN