AsiaIndustrial NetNews: One day,Robot, airplanes, cars, and other machines may have sensors all over their bodies that act like giant touchscreens that recognize what you’re typing. To achieve this, however, scientists must develop robotic skins with sensors that can respond to different environments.
That’s what a group of MIT researchers wanted to achieve. The golden beetle changes color when touched, and they developed the robotic skin inspired by this feature of the beetle.
To make their ingenious design possible, the team turned to3D printingtechnology. They used a custom 3D printer called a MultiFab to create the T-shaped gadget, which has a small circular object on it that changes color when the T-bar is stretched. MultiFab can print just about everything, from ultra-thin plastic housings full of sensors, to storing and curing semiconductors.
Project leader Subramanian Sundaram said: “Essentially, the network of connections between sensors and communicators is called a sensorimotor pathway. We wanted to see if we could replicate the sensorimotor path in a 3D printed object. Therefore, we considered using the simplest organisms we could find.
If you want to know more about it, the researchers present the entire creative process and its technical details on the MIT website. Note that this is just a preliminary demo and they plan to continue developing their technology. Also, printed e-skins might not only be able to receive all touch information, they could also turn into different structures as they fold into complex 3D shapes. Some printable robots can even be assembled, making them more autonomous than anything we’ve seen before.
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