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      Robot skin feels more sensitive than human skin
      696 2021-09-17
      Human skin is difficult to replicate because it is not only flexible, tactile and self-healing. However, the latest discoveries of scientists are giving robot skins such characteristics.
        
         Do you think that only the skin of living organisms is flexible, resistant to pressure, has a tactile feel, and can heal itself? Recent research results show that robot skin can also perform better than human skin.
        
         Researchers at the University of Glasgow in the UK used graphene to develop an electronic robot skin that is more tactile than human hands.
        
        According to foreign media reports, Professor Ravinder Dahiya of the University of Glasgow said that the newly developed robotic skin is essentially a tactile sensor. Scientists will use it to create a lighter prosthetic limb and a robot with a softer and more natural-feeling surface skin.
        
         And this sensor is also the first step towards a softer robot and a more sensitive touch screen sensor.
        
         This low-power smart robot skin is made of a single layer of graphene. The power per square centimeter of the skin is 20 nanowatts, which is equivalent to the lowest quality photovoltaic cell currently available. Although the energy produced by the skin’s photovoltaic cells cannot be stored yet, the engineering team is exploring ways to transfer unused energy to the battery so that it can be used when needed.
        
        Graphene is a new type of nanomaterial with the thinnest, strongest and strongest electrical and thermal conductivity found so far. Due to its good strength, flexibility, conductivity and other properties, it has broad application potential in physics, materials science, electronic information and other fields.
        
        In terms of optical properties, research data shows that the vertical absorption rate of single-layer graphene to visible light and near-infrared light is only 2.3%.
        
         "How to let the sun shine through the skin covering the photovoltaic cells is our real challenge." Ravinder commented on Advanced Functional Materials (
        
         Advanced Functional Materials) said.
        
         "No matter what kind of light it is, 98% can reach the solar cell." Dahiya explained to the BBC that the electricity generated by the solar cell is used to generate the sense of touch. "Its touch is an order of magnitude better than human skin."
        
         The skin gives the robot arm the pressing feedback it should, so that it can better control the force of grasping objects, even fragile eggs can be picked up and put down steadily.
        
        Dahiya said: “The next step is to develop the power generation technology that supports this research and use it to drive the motor of the prosthetic hand, which allows us to create a fully energy-autonomous prosthesis.”
        
         In addition, this kind of superior performance robot skin is not expensive, Dahiya said, 5-10 square centimeters of the new skin only costs 1 US dollars. In fact, graphene can do much more than just give the robotic arm a keen sense of touch, it can also help the robot‘s skin to heal itself.
        
         According to futurism reports, Indian scientists
        
         The latest research published by Open Physics found that graphene has a powerful self-repair function. Scientists hope to apply this feature to the field of sensors, so that robots can have skin self-repair functions like humans.
        
        The ductility of the traditional metal robot skin is poor, and it is prone to cracks and breakage. However, if the sub-nano sensor made of graphene can sense the cracks, then the robot skin can prevent the cracks from expanding further and even repair the cracks. Research data shows that when the crack exceeds the critical displacement threshold, the automatic repair function will automatically start.
        
      "We hope to observe the self-healing behavior of original and defective single-layer graphene through the molecular dynamics simulation process, and also observe the performance of graphene in the process of sub-nano sensor fracture positioning." In an interview, the main author of the paper Swati Ghosh Acharyya said: "At room temperature and without any external stimuli, we can observe the self-healing behavior of graphene."
        
        Researchers from India said that this technology will be quickly put into application, perhaps the next generation of robots.