Skin a wonderfully tactile and complex part of the human condition that often goes unnoticed. Scientists this week have demonstrated the most complex artificial skin for robots yet produced. Containing infra-red, heat and accelerometer sensors this is an intelligent hard shell for our robotic creations. Still lagging a long way behind human skin this new robotic facsimile is a huge advancement on previous technology that will eventually be able to include other sensors to enhance our robots sense of touch.
The skin itself is made from a collection of small hexagonal circuit boards – 5 square centimeters each– that are connected to form the skin. Each circuit board contains four infra-red sensors to detect objects within a few centimeters of the skin, six temperature sensors for heat / cold and an accelerometer. The circuit boards have their own processor and communications hardware used to form a network of skin cells.