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Robots perceive their environment with sensor skin

An electronic skin very close to the human model has been developed by scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder. It can repair itself and is deformable and recyclable.

06 Mar. 2018
Dirk Bongardt
Darf ich bitten, Kollege Roboter?
Robots perceive their environment with sensor skin (Foto:Shutterstock)

There are numerous fields of application for this e-skin . It is possible to use this robotic skin similar to how it is used in humans, for example, as an additional, protective skin in hazardous areas or in virtual or augmented reality applications. The thin, translucent material can sense environmental conditions, such as pressure, temperature, humidity or airflow, through sensors.

In view of the rapid development currently being experienced by collaborative industrial robots, multimodal sensors are becoming increasingly important. Because Cobots, which work closely with humans, should be able to process a multitude of “sensory perceptions” simultaneously and react to the input in real time. Purely optical systems will not suffice here. At the IAR-IPR of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), a DFG research project is working in its final phase on the “use of tactile proximity sensors in human-machine interaction and in robot control systems (proximity servoing).” An initial result preview has already shown that the systems are capable of detecting movements and contact simultaneously. The sensors developed at KIT will also be used in the development of robotic skin.