Researchers from the Dalian University of Technology, City University of Hong Kong and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China have worked together to create a flexible skin patch that allows the user to control a robot. The patch provides haptic feedback between the wearer and the robot. The research team’s results are available in a publication of Science Advances.
According to the research team, most remote-control robotic setups involve clunky gear with challenging controls. Additionally, these controls rarely offer feedback other than a video stream from the robot’s perspective. Therefore, the researchers set out to create a user-friendly system for robot operators, the result being a flexible skin patch capable of capturing both body movements and stressors like twisting or turning.
The haptic skin patch includes sensors that interpret the data from other sensors in the patch. Wireless transmitters send the data to vibrating magnets resulting in haptic feedback. Patches are applied in groups to the robot operator’s skin in specific places such as the elbow. Certain sensors provide body movement information through zigzagging wires that straighten when the patch bends.
Haptic Skin Patch: A Robotics Innovation
While the research team’s flexible skin patch paves the way for more immersive robotics controls, others are focusing more on AI. DeepBrain, for example, recently created an AI rendering of presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol. Likewise, Nvidia has recently revealed avatars realistic in both looks and behavior for use in the omniverse.
The flexible skin patch allows the operator to control a robot easily and remotely without the use of bulky gear. Additionally, patches on the robot let the operator receive feedback to feel what the robot feels. For example, by placing flexible patches on the robot’s fingers, the operator can feel any object the robot holds. With such futuristic technology now within our grasp, one can only wonder what other technological advances we’ll see in the near future.