MIT Touches the Future with Next Generation Tactile Robotic Skin

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is using an advanced sensor system to develop the next level of robots.  By incorporating Quantum Tunnelling Composite (QTC) technology into a robot's skin, MIT hopes to build a robot that can interact with humans via touch.  QTC, from Peratech Limited, is a new class of electrically conductive material that has been developed to advance the capability of switching and sensing systems.  As the Peratech website states:  "QTC can be tailored to suit different force, pressure, or touch sensing applications – from sensing feather-light or finger operation to heavy pressure applications, and that is why QTC is so perfect for the next tactile robot."

See the related story from Myra Per-Lee at to read about the most advanced bionic hand.

QTC Robotics

Image Credit:  Peratech Limited

QTC Pressure Sensing Material

Image Credit:  Peratech Limited

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will create the first robot that will enable a human to interact with it through touch, much as they would another human. Last week, MIT commissioned the British company Peratech to develop its next generation tactile robotic skin to accomplish its goal.



The Next Robots Will Go for the SLAM

In a future mission to a planet, a robot may need to find its way around without the benefit of prior knowledge of the surface.  Robots in these situations will need to use a process called SLAM or Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping.  For the last three decades perfecting the process of SLAM has become the gold standard of robotics research.  This article from explains how this process is being studied for applications to future robots.  In the article, Matteo Matteucci, a roboticist at the Politecnico di Milano University in Italy, states “SLAM is an essential building block of autonomous robots because robots, such as planetary rovers and undersea research craft, cannot be provided with an accurate map beforehand. In such situations, the only solution is for them to create a representation of the environment as they go and determine their location in it by themselves.”

Check out the story in the links below.  Also, take a look at The Rawseeds Project for additional background on this topic.

Slam dunk for future smart robots
Work by European researchers will help future robot generations provide smarter answers. The process by which robots use vision, laser and/or sonar sensors

Slam dunk for future smart robots –
(author unknown)
Mon, 14 Dec 2009 21:50:18 GMT

Optical Sensors Give Robots’ Artificial Skin with Smooth Touch

An article posted at details the research of Belgium researchers who have developed a new type of artificial skin for robots.  This skin will be able to provide robots with a delicate touch more like a human’s.  The primary applications for this development will be in the area of surgical robots.  Future medical robots will be able to perform more delicate and extensive surgeries than current models.  What makes this skin possible is the use of optical sensors rather than the electomechanical type used now.  Besides the article linked to above, Popular Science has the story.  Check out the links below.

Popular Science

Optical Sensors in Robots' Skin Give Them A Softer Touch
Popular Science
Thankfully, researchers at the University of Ghent, Belgium, have solved the problem of delicate robot touch. Unlike the mechanical sensors currently used
and more »

Optical Sensors in Robots' Skin Give Them A Softer Touch – Popular Science
(author unknown)
Tue, 01 Dec 2009 22:58:26 GMT