Wootzano Robot Skin Invention

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Engineers Develop Electronic Skin Giving Robots the Sense of Touch

Jessica Tabinor industry news

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     INDUSTRY NEWS | 2 MIN READ

  • Engineers have developed electronic skin to give robotic hands a similar dexterity to human hands.

  • Known as Wootzkin, the electronic skin is designed to allow robots to complete tasks requiring the same sense of touch that humans take for granted.

  • It is believed that the technology is suitable for scaling up to mass production.

Engineers have developed a form of electronic skin that contains sensors to give robotic hands a similar dexterity to human hands.

Known as Wootzkin, the electronic skin is designed to allow robots to complete tasks requiring the same sense of touch that humans take for granted. The skin has been developed by Edinburgh and Sedgefield-based Wootzano and was presented at the Annual Showcase of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Hub in May.

The Wootzkin is made up of a specially-modified elastomer with metal electrodes. Using photolithography the skin can be bent, stretched and twisted.

The skin has piezoelectric and piezoresistive sensing capabilities, meaning it can be used to measure force and pressure and is also embedded with temperature sensors.

Its developer Dr Atif Syed, founder and CEO of Wootzano said:

“We’re trying to make something that is akin to human skin, so it can give the robot feedback on force, pressure, temperature, and humidity. And it can also go beyond human evolution and smell when it is touching a particular object.”

Dr Atif Syed began developing the technology in 2013 whilst he was studying for a PhD at Edinburgh University. After the initial research, he soon realised the skin could be used to solve many of the problems facing roboticists such as creating robots that can perform dexterous tasks like grasping objects.search morson jobs

As well as the skin itself, the company has also developed machine learning algorithms that allow the robot to learn how to touch and handle items through reinforcement.

The company is also investigating the use of the skin in prosthetic limbs, to allow wearers to feel objects and surfaces that their robotic arm is touching.

Syed added:

“And as well as making sensors for hands, we also make them for feet, because they also come into contact with the environment. Sensors for robotic feet will allow robots to walk on difficult surfaces, by allowing the robot to control itself as it is walking.”

It is believed that the technology is suitable for scaling up to mass production.

(Images and quotes sourced via RAEng)


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