April 26, 2013 | Corrinne

Thanks to an invention called 'smart skin', future robots may be able to appreciate the soft fur of a cat, or the break of an ocean wave.

Smart skin uses brand-new technology: pressure-sensitive transistors called taxels. These taxels work because of a cool phenomenon called piezoelectricity that's where you create electrical charge in a material just by squeezing it. Smart skin contains thousands of these touch-sensitive taxels, and is almost as sensitive as human skin. Hooray for piezoelectricity!

But just think: as people increasingly accept bionic organs into their bodies, are robots becoming ever more like people?

This research was first published in the 25 April issue of the journal Science.


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robot cat

Tactile smart skin could allow future robots to experience the same sense of touch that we humans appreciate.


Image: Flickr/Peyri

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