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Technology Breakthrough: Experts Added Artificial Skin On Home Care Robots

First Posted: Nov 12, 2016 05:40 AM EST
Japan Robot Week 2016
A guest touches the humanoid robot during the Japan Robot Week 2016 at Tokyo Big Sight.
(Photo : Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

Technology today is one of the most used tools in the human's daily lives. Some even have home care robots to assist them with daily chores. Now, the makers will add an artificial skin to give them a sense of touch.

The market for home care robots has been foreseen to have higher demands in 2025. Quadruple of the usual market, these would reach up to $5.9 billion.

One of the problems that have been predicted is that the home care robots work well in structured manufacturing environments. However, the regular homes are mostly disorganized and humans can sometimes be unpredictable. Home care robots need to get a good sensing of their surroundings before they can be effective and comfortable with their surroundings.

Meanwhile, a team of researchers from Georgia Tech created an artificial skin that enables the home care robot to lightly touch different materials and identify it. The artificial skin is fabric-based and equipped with force sensors and thermal sensors.

According to Georgia Tech, Director of the Healthcare Robotics Lab at Georgia Tech Charles C. Kemp said that, "These environments tend to have clutter. In a home, you can have lots of objects on a shelf, and the robot can't see beyond that first row of objects."  

The combination of the sensors can help the home care robot to know the difference between wood and metal. The experts from IEEE Spectrum indicate that the technique copies the way how the human skin uses thermal conductivity to classify different materials.

Charles Kemp said "Any time a robot touches something with its arm, tactile sensing skin can help it respond more intelligently. If the robot is touching the person, it might choose to be more gentle in its motions," in a report by Kelly McSweeney for ZDNet.

However, artificial skin is still in progress and the prototype has not yet been tested. But the team suggests that if the prototype is successful, it could add more assistance to humans by recognizing them.

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