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Perfect Skin: More Touchy-Feely Robots

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A human shakes hands with a robot.

The EU-funded ROBOSKIN project reportedly has succeeded in developing the systems required to provide robots with an artificial sense of touch.

Credit: Gizmodo

The European Union-funded skin-based technologies and capabilities for safe, autonomous and interactive robots (ROBOSKIN) project has developed sensor technologies and management systems that give robots an artificial sense of touch.

The researchers aimed to create cognitive mechanisms that use tactile feedback and behavior to make sure human-robot interaction is safe and effective for future applications. The electronic sensors process the tactile data using software that has been front-loaded to include basic robot behaviors.

"We had to generate a degree of awareness in the robots to help them react to tactile events and physical contact with the outside world," says Genoa University professor Giorgio Cannata.

The ROBOSKIN project generated a geometric map using continuous contact between the test robot and the environment to build parameters for the data to be assimilated by the machine into behavior.

ROBOSKIN has developed a production system for building tactile sensing into different robots. "We are still at the pre-commercial demonstrator stage, but the latest version of our tactile sensors clearly have wider potential in industry as factories seek safe, cost-efficient ways of using robots in closer contact with human workers," Cannata says.

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