When you think of robots, I’m sure images come to mind of metal, monotone talking devices you typically see in movies.
You’re probably also familiar with Siri and Alexa but they don’t look anything like robots. However, they do act like robots by communicating with you on various devices they’re implanted into.
Robots with SKIN
Now, there’s a push to make robots more human looking. Scientists have made a breakthrough in creating artificial flexible SKIN that’ll give robots a human-like look. This SKIN could one day be grafted onto robots, giving them a human-like sense of touch, as well, that could make them better at performing complicated tasks.
For example, the human-like touch would allow robots to “feel” when they’re doing something wrong, like in the case of surgery. As a result, the device should be able to adjust their technique.
The invention could also allow robots to perform more routine tasks such as shaking hands.
What SKIN is made of
The University of Washington engineers developed the SKIN from the same silicon rubber found in swimming goggles. In return, they embedded it with tiny channels smaller than the width of human hair.
Electronically conductive liquid metal is used to fill each channel since it doesn’t decay like standard wires. The metal also allows the robot to detect vibrations and pressure when the SKIN is stretched over its sensors.
The team is also hoping their invention can be used to create human prosthetics.
When it comes to doing housework, there are robots on the market that can help you out. While they’re not human looking with SKIN, I’m sure you'll still appreciate the work they do.