A team of researchers led by an Indian-born engineer has developed an electronic skin that senses pain

  • Researchers have created a electronic skin who can feel pain.
  • The functioning of the artificial skin is based on synaptic transistors which eliminate the response time.
  • This to research can open new doors for the development of touch technology robots.

A team of researchers led by Professor Ravinder Dahiya, an Indian-born engineer in the UK, has developed an electronic skin capable of detecting pain. According to the team, this could help them create a series of next-generation robots with human-like sentience.

Professor Ravinder Dahiya comes from the James Watt School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow. He says he believes the research takes us one step closer to creating large-scale neuromorphic printed electronic skin that can respond to stimuli.

The news was shared by the University of Glasgow’s Twitter account.

The study was published in the article titled “Printed Synaptic Transistors based Electronic Skin for Robots to Feel and Learn” in the journal Science Robotics. According to the researcher, the electronic skin development is the latest breakthrough in stretchable and flexible printing technology from Bendable Electronics and Sensing Technologies (BEST) group in Glasgow.

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Earlier, scientists worked on building artificial skin with touch-sensing capabilities. Some of the methods explored include the use of pressure sensors on the electronic surface of the skin, which allows it to detect contact. The data received from the sensors is sent to a computer for processing. The large volume of data takes time to process, resulting in a lag in response reducing the effectiveness of artificial skin in the real world.

Glasgow University’s new form of electronic skin is inspired by a different human peripheral nervous system that interprets signals from the skin by eliminating response time. As soon as the e-skin receives input, the system processes the data at the point of contact. This ensures that only vital information is sent to the brain.

To improve the capabilities of the electronic skin, Professor Ravinder Dahiya and his team printed a grid of 168 synaptic transistors (computer system that performs signal processing) on ​​the surface of the artificial skin. They connected the synaptic transistors to skin sensors on the human-shaped robot’s hand.

When these sensors are touched, they register changes in their electrical resistance system. A light touch creates light resistance and a harder touch creates greater resistance.

Potential Applications of Electronic Skin

Researchers at the University of Utah have developed a prosthetic arm, the LUKE arm, that mimics the human sense of touch. The LUKE arm uses a network of microelectrodes implanted in the prosthetic arm which are connected to a computer. It allows better communication between the prosthetic arm and the brain. Although the arm is limited to nineteen touch sensors, it can only move in limited directions.

The integration of electronic skin in the LUKE arm can open new doors for researchers, allowing them to develop next-generation prosthetic limbs.

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