New robot ‘skin’ points to flexible touchscreen future

E-skin. Credit: Ali Javey and Chuan Wang
E-skin could change portable electronic devices.
Credit: Ali Javey and Chuan Wang

Attention, naysayers who predict that robots will never be like humans: The robots just make a huge leap in our direction. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have invented robot skin – and it reacts when touched.

“With the interactive e-skin, we have demonstrated an elegant system on plastic that can be wrapped around different objects to enable a new form of human-machine interfacing,” explained Ali Javey, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at Berkeley.

The e-skin is not really skin, of course: It’s flexible plastic. But its sensors react just like human skin. Lights flash when the skin is touched: softly in response to light touching, brightly in response to more pressure. The plastic sheets, which can be wrapped around robot limbs, will help the android creatures react to human beings.

But the purpose of the skin is not to make robots more human. Instead, the researchers envisage it being used in wallpaper that functions like today’s touchscreen devices.

“Unlike the stiff touchscreens on iPhones, computer monitors and ATMs, the e-skin is flexible and can be easily laminated on any surface,” says the study’s lead co-author, Chuan Wang, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan State University.

“I could also imagine an e-skin bandage applied to an arm as a health monitor that continuously checks blood pressure and pulse rates,” said study co-lead author Chuan Wang.

The results of the study, which was funded by the Pentagon’s pioneering research arm, DARPA, were published in the scientific journal Nature Materials.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD: Suspect fleeing traffic stop shot by cop…

The NYPD said an officer temporarily reassigned for the Summer All Out program shot a suspect who slammed into two NYPD cars and hit a cop in Brooklyn.

Local

De Blasio and first family will travel to…

Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City's first family will travel to Italy later this month for a summer vacation.

Local

TIPS: How to take great photos during 'Manhattanhenge'

Grab your camera and make the perfect picture this Saturday.

National

Seinfeld emoji cound be available next week

Get your puffy shirts and your marble rye ready, America. Seinfeld emoji could become available as early as next week.

Gossip

PHOTOS: Topless Cara Delevingne advocates for 'Free the…

Supermodel Cara Delevingne is never one to shy away from the gaze of social media. Yesterday, she chose to advocate for the 'Free the Nipple' campaign via Instagram, where she…

Gossip

PHOTOS: Axelle Despiegelaere AKA "most beautiful" fan gets…

Axelle Despiegelaere, the "most beautiful" soccer supporter of this year's World Cup, was fired by L'Oreal for a hunting photo on her Facebook account.

Television

Final season of 'Glee' will be only 13…

The final season of "Glee" will officially be only 13 episodes, instead of the usual 22.

Entertainment

Complex characters, juicy scripts boost Netflix's Emmy nominations

The unconventional approach to TV at Netflix netted 31 Emmy nominations, a major achievement after plunging into original programing just last year.

NBA

GIF: LeBron James returns to Cleveland so deal…

To anyone out there who is upset about his decision, this .GIF is for you. Enjoy.

World Cup

A game of two popes: Vatican plays down…

By Philip PullellaVATICAN CITY (Reuters) - With Argentina meeting Germany in the World Cup final, the Vatican on Friday brushed aside talk of soccer rivalry…

NFL

Which Jets player has the best odds at…

Metro New York asked Bovada.LV to rank the top three contenders for the NFL MVP on the Jets.

World Cup

Argentina prevails in penalties, advances to final

The drama never seems to subside as the World Cup finally has its final two.

Wellbeing

Fart gas might prevent cancer

You might not like the smell, but fart gas might help prevent cancer.

Tech

Mesh sheds light on top 10 dating deal…

What are New Yorkers' top 10 dating deal breakers? Find out here.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Sexual headaches can be…

Sexual headaches: an under-discussed health issue Location: U.S. Results: If getting frisky brings on a headache, you’re not alone. Headaches associated with sexual activity represent a…

Food

Head to FiDi for free Chia Pods from…

They may have been last summer's darlings, but chia seeds have definitely not gone out of style. A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, they…