Hypersensitive fibers can become nerves of robots

Of course, some robots can run faster than people and can stay longer underwater without needing to breath. But they have no senses to feel they do not know. At least could not until now. Engineers from EPFL in Switzerland recently published a paper in Advance Materials, which talked about the new ultra-thin and flexible transactions that include electrodes. They may form the basis of the nervous system the future of robots.

Built-in conductors means that the plastic will be able to send electronic signals in response to the touch. It kind of reminds the human nerve — and the team understands this, so all ten engineers under the direction of Fabien Sorin think your device is an ideal candidate for robotic nerves.

The “nerve” at its core is a thin fibre-optic cable is full of electrodes. To create it, you need to take a dense plastic block, heat it and pull from it a tiny flexible wire. Most techniques of drawing like this rely on plastic, which firmly solidifies, so the researchers took other material which retains elasticity. Before drawing the engineers have placed the electrodes where they are needed. As lengthening plastic, fiber was wrapped around the conductors.

The final product was similar to a thin elastic stretch band. Thin, almost transparent and extremely elastic robotic nerve. Because of the flexibility and softness, it can work in the bends of joints of robots. Engineers can also create multiple layers of electrodes, therefore, different pressure will cause a different reaction, explains Sorin.

For the most part attempts to make robots able to feel was very cumbersome or relied on large reservoirs with the liquid. Wire EPFL solve this issue easier and more elegant. In addition, if robots are ever closer to the tactility of their counterparts of flesh and blood, they will need more than just sensitive fingers.

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