In Brief

A recent innovation gives a new, human-like sense to robots.

Scientists have developed an electronic skin that allows robots to have a sense of touch. This pressure-sensitive skin is made from germanium and silicon and is controlled by built-in capacitors by changing the skin’s thickness depending upon the change in pressure when a robot holds an object. By sensing a range of pressure, the scientists hope that robots with such electronic skins will acquire an intuitive sense of touch and pressure that will expand their use in areas we humans cannot explore.

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