Developed by a European consortium humanoid robot “cub” will soon be able to feel his surroundings. Made possible by a touch-sensitive skin, the researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology have developed. As New Scientist reports, the first samples of this skin in May will be sent to partner institutions.
“The skin was one of the key technologies for lack of humanoid robots,” says the IT robot cists Giorgio Metal. It is cub a research platform that helps to secure, not least, a collaboration between man and machine are possible. A sense of touch is important, so that robots can also feel what they touch with their machines just poor.
Developed by the IT researchers robot skin consists of triangular modules with three centimeters in length and twelve capacitive copper contacts. Furthermore there is a separation layer of silicone rubber, and finally an outer layer of Lycra, in which there are metal contacts. Per triangular element result that twelve fall “Taxes” tactile-called pixels, which can be perceived Metal that a pressure of only one gram.
The challenge with a touch-sensitive robot skin is Metal that they must meet a number of sometimes contradictory requirements. Because the skin is tough, can cover a large area and yet be highly sensitive. Of course, not the IT approach the only one who intended to enable the robots, the tactile feeling. The U.S. company Patch relies on a class of conductive materials Quantum Tunneling Composites calls it (TIC). Whether the long run will make a single technology, the race remains to be seen.
Versatile research platform
But in any case could at ITT developed tactile skin come relatively soon in a dozen European research is used. For the cub platform is already used in many ways. At Imperial College London as the robot is used to explore human cognition .
Significantly in the development of cub Swiss scientists also participated. You mean this head from the Artificial Intelligence Lab at the University of Zurich While researchers have addressed at the Cole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne, among other things, how movement is triggered. In Germany again had the cub just one that turns heads when he was at the Hanover Messed Chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands.