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E-Skin With Pain Sensing Capability Created by Indian Engineers Could Aid in the Development of Future Robots

An electronic skin capable of “pain” has been developed by a team of researchers in the UK, led by an engineer of Indian descent. According to the researchers, this skin could aid in the development of a new breed of intelligent robots with human-like sensitivity. The discovery, according to Professor Ravinder Dahiya of the University of Glasgow’s James Watt School of Engineering, represents a significant advancement in the quest to produce large-scale neuromorphic printed e-skin that can react correctly to inputs.

His team at the university developed the artificial skin with a new type of processing system based on synaptic transistors, which mimics the brain’s neural pathways in order to learn. A robot hand which uses the smart skin is said to show a remarkable ability to learn to react to external stimuli.

“We all learn early on in our lives to respond appropriately to unexpected stimuli like pain in order to prevent us from hurting ourselves again. Of course, the development of this new form of electronic skin didn’t really involve inflicting pain as we know it – it’s simply a shorthand way to explain the process of learning from external stimulus,” explained. Dahiya

His university-based team created the synthetic skin with a novel synaptic transistor-based processing system that imitates the learning neural circuits of the brain. According to reports, a robot hand that makes use of smart skin exhibits a surprising capacity to learn how to respond to environmental stimuli.

“Everyone learns early in life to react appropriately to unexpected stimuli like pain in order to avoid further self-injury. Naturally, creating this novel type of electronic skin didn’t actually require causing pain as we understand it; rather, it served as a convenient shorthand for discussing how the brain learns from external stimuli. Dahiya.

This method has allowed us to develop an electronic skin that can perform distributed learning at the hardware level and doesn’t require messages to be sent back and forth to a central processor in order to act. Instead, it significantly reduces the amount of calculation needed, which speeds up the process of responding to touch, he said.

The researchers from the Scottish university describe how they created their computational e-skin prototype and how it advances the state-of-the-art in touch-sensitive robotics in a new paper titled “Printed Synaptic Transistors based Electronic Skin for Robots to Feel and Learn,” which was published on Wednesday in the journal “Science Robotics.”

The Bendable Electronics and Sensing Technologies (BEST) Group at the University of Glasgow describes the creation of the electronic skin as the most recent innovation in stretchable, flexible printed surfaces.

In the future, this research could be the basis for a more advanced electronic skin that enables robots capable of exploring and interacting with the world in new ways, or building prosthetic limbs that are capable of approaching human levels of touch sensitivity,” said Fengyuan Liu, a member of the BEST group and a co-author of the paper. For many years, researchers have been striving to create synthetic skin that is touch-sensitive. The electronic skin’s surface can be covered with a variety of touch or pressure sensors, enabling it to recognize when it makes contact with something.

Then, a computer receives the sensor data to process and interpret it. The sensors often generate a lot of data that takes a while to interpret and respond to, which introduces delays that can make the skin less useful for actual work.

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