Sunday, March 21, 2010

Robot Skin Coming Soon

British material-design company Peratech recently teamed up with MIT to create pressure-sensitive, electronically responsive “skin” for robots. Peratech’s signature product is a kind of sensitive metal-and-silicone material called quantum tunneling composite, or QTC.

This technology responds to pressure, converting physical force into an electric signal. It’s already been used to create touchscreens and even an “off button” on electronic passports to stop them from broadcasting RFID tags.

MIT’s Media Lab department hopes to dress up their robots in QTC very soon.

QTC robot skin could perhaps let a robot know precisely where it has been touched, and with how much pressure. It could also be helpful in designing machines that have better grasping capabilities, and for developing more natural ways for machines to interact with humans.

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