Researchers at the Technical University of Munich have for the first time succeeded in fitting a robot with an artificial house. Microprocessors measure touch, acceleration, approach and temperature. Robot H-1 is able to respond to touch through the artificial skin developed by Prof. Gordon Cheng. With the help of new control algorithms, it was possible for the first time to provide a human-sized robot with this skin.
Robots are supposed to be able to better sense their environment and even balance one-legged. According to their own information, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have for the first time equipped a human-sized robot completely with artificial skin. The hexagonal cells the size of a two-euro coin should provide for a “new body feeling”, as the university announced on Thursday.
The artificial skin is used in a robot that bears the name H-1 and is as big as a human being. It is equipped with 1260 cells and more than 13,000 sensors on the upper body, arms, legs and even on the soles of the feet. Microprocessors measure touch, acceleration, approach and temperature. By comparison, human skin has about five million receptors, as the researchers around Professor Gordon Cheng explain.
The biggest obstacle in the development of robotic skin so far had been lack of computing capacity – the systems were overwhelmed with data from a few hundred sensors. To solve this problem, the Munich scientists do not permanently monitor the skin cells, but use a so-called event-based system. Thus, the computational effort can be reduced by up to 90 percent.
“Our system is designed to work easily and quickly with all kinds of robots,” Cheng said. “Now we’re working on designing smaller skin cells that can be mass-produced in the future.”