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Story 003 – 2025 – Innovation Products Safety

More sensitive than human skin

How Mechano Receptors make robots sensitive

The E-skin – a significant outer skin for robots that makes them more sensitive – more sensitive than humans. This development makes robots more sensitive, which takes interaction with humans to a new level.

Without the fine sense of touch on the sole of the foot, people would not be able to walk upright – we would lose our balance. Without the feel for the hardness of an object we hold between two fingers, we would accidentally destroy many things. Our skin surface provides innumerable information in the millisecond range from every part of the body. By 2030, robots will be able to do this reliably and as standard – and more than 1000 times faster.

The so-called E-skin will be able to measure pressure, temperature, humidity, air flow and distances to objects through highly sensitive sensors in the robot skin. The basis of this future development will be several million highly flexible sensors made of nanowire. Like a matrix, they will be distributed over the entire surface of the robot and continuously provide information about the current status to the robot's central computer.

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Wires and sectional wires

Highly flexible sensors made of nanowire

Several million highly flexible sensors made of nanowire will supply all the information to the robot's central computer.

Robot hand and human hand

2000 times faster than human skin – highly sensitive robot skin replaces nature.

This new and unprecedented sensitivity will enable robots to move very carefully and to feel. The differentiation of deviating values between two adjacent micro sensors will take place in nanoseconds. Even the evaluation of data on air pressure, temperature, humidity or hardness of an object grasped by the robot hand with two fingers (including the corresponding feedback loop and the reaction of the robot fingers in response to the object hardness) will be processed in a few milliseconds. This will enable the new E-skin to react to stimuli significantly more than 1000 times faster than our human skin. Learning ability and artificial intelligence will additionally optimize the function of the E-skin.

This artificial nervous system on the skin surface of robots will fall back on many new, complex metal alloys, metal oxides and copper alloys to make sensors more sensitive, smaller and faster. This will enable us to transport and process data faster for new decision making.