Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




ROBO SPACE
Scientists develop sensitive skin for robots
by Staff Writers
Munich, Germany (SPX) Jul 05, 2011


File image.

Our skin is a communicative wonder: The nerves convey temperature, pressure, shear forces and vibrations - from the finest breath of air to touch to pain. At the same time, the skin is the organ by which we set ourselves apart from our environment and distinguish between environment and body.

Scientists at TUM are now developing an artificial skin for robots with a similar purpose: It will provide important tactile information to the robot and thus supplement its perception formed by camera eyes, infrared scanners and gripping hands.

As with human skin, the way the artificial skin is touched could, for example, lead to a spontaneous retreat (when the robot hits an object) or cause the machine to use its eyes for the first time to search for the source of contact.

Such behavior is especially important for robotic helpers of people traveling in constantly changing environments. According to robot vision, this is just a regular apartment in which things often change position and people and pets move around.

"In contrast to the tactile information provided by the skin, the sense of sight is limited because objects can be hidden," explains Philip Mittendorfer, a scientist who develops the artificial skin at the Institute of Cognitive Systems at Technical University of Munich (Technische Universitaet Muenchen, TUM).

The centerpiece of the new robotic shell is a 5 square centimeter hexagonal plate or circuit board. Each small circuit board contains four infrared sensors that detect anything closer than 1 centimeter.

"We thus simulate light touch," explains Mittendorfer. "This corresponds to our sense of the fine hairs on our skin being gently stroked."

There are also six temperature sensors and an accelerometer. This allows the machine to accurately register the movement of individual limbs, for example, of its arms, and thus to learn what body parts it has just moved.

"We try to pack many different sensory modalities into the smallest of spaces," explains the engineer. "In addition, it is easy to expand the circuit boards to later include other sensors, for example, pressure."

Plate for plate, the boards are placed together forming a honeycomb-like, planar structure to be worn by the robot. For the machine to have detection ability, the signals from the sensors must be processed by a central computer.

This enables each sensory module to not only pass its own information, but to also serve as a data hub for different sensory elements. This happens automatically, ensuring that signals can go in alternative ways if a connection should fail.

Only a small piece of skin is currently complete. These 15 sensors, however, at least one on each segment of a long robot arm, already show that the principle works. Just a light pat or blow ensures that the arm reacts.

"We will close the skin and generate a prototype which is completely enclosed with these sensors and can interact anew with its environment," claims Mittendorfer's supervisor, Prof. Gordon Cheng. Prof. Cheng expounds that this will be "a machine that notices when you tap it on the back... even in the dark."

The pioneering aspects of the concept do not end with its sensory accomplishments. Beyond this, these machines will someday be able to incorporate our fundamental neurobiological capabilities and form a self-impression. The robot has moved a step closer to humanity.

.


Related Links
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
All about the robots on Earth and beyond!






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ROBO SPACE
Driving a robot from the Space Station
Paris, France (ESA) Jun 30, 2011
Meet Justin, an android who will soon be controlled remotely by the astronauts in ESA's Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station. With this and other intriguing experiments like the Eurobot rover, ESA is paving the way for exploring the Moon and planets with tele-operated robots. In two to three years, the experimental robot on Earth will faithfully mimic the movements of an ... read more


ROBO SPACE
Marshall Center's Bassler Leads NASA Robotic Lander Work

NASA puts space probe into lunar orbit

ARTEMIS Spacecraft Prepare for Lunar Orbit

LRO Showing Us the Moon as Never Before

ROBO SPACE
Scientists uncover evidence of a wet Martian past in desert

NASA Research Offers New Prospect Of Water On Mars

New Animation Depicts Next Mars Rover in Action

Islands of Life - Part One

ROBO SPACE
NASA Langley Rockets to Kentucky for Summer Motion

Space technology 'on the NHS' and easier access to space

NASA needs new 'breakthrough,' says Obama

NASA Beyond The Space Shuttle

ROBO SPACE
China launches experimental satellite

China to launch an experimental satellite in coming days

China to launch new communication satellite

China's second moon orbiter Chang'e-2 goes to outer space

ROBO SPACE
Russia's Progress M-11M readjusts ISS orbit

Training for ISS flight operations

Space junk narrowly misses station

Improving Slumber on the Space Station With Sleep-Long

ROBO SPACE
Arianespace to launch THOR 7 satellite for Telenor

Space X Dragon Spacecraft Returns To Florida

Arianespace Launch Postponed At Least 20 Days

Minotaur Rocket Launch from NASA Wallops Re-Scheduled

ROBO SPACE
Microlensing Finds a Rocky Planet

A golden age of exoplanet discovery

CoRoT's new detections highlight diversity of exoplanets

Rage Against the Dying of the Light

ROBO SPACE
"Civilization" lets Facebook players rule world

EU task force on raw materials sought

Apple fires back in patent war with Samsung

China accused of rushing bridge opening




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement