BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Future robots will be able to bend around the corner and to change their color according to your mood, thanks to a revolutionary material devised by a team of scientists from the Cornell University. The glow-in-the-dark skin helps robots to sense touch, arch their body to fit through narrow gaps and to cheer us up when we have the blues.
A team of scientists from the Cornell University was successful in devising an advanced material which is capable of bending and stretching just like the skin of an octopus. In fact, the scientists working on this project were inspired by the cephalopod’s hyperelastic skin, which can perform similar tasks.
As stated before, apart from hyperelasticity, the material can also sense touch and can even glow in the dark. The heart of this revolutionary material is an HLEC or a hyperelastic and light-emitting capacitor. So, the HLEC is made up of a series of diodes which are trapped in a silicone base.
The scientists in charge of this project predicted that their material can be used to fabricate robotic skin. Automatons outfitted with this material can bend and stretch, to fit into narrow spaces. Moreover, it would seem that the final surface of a robot made from this material will be six times more elastic than any other material.
Furthermore, with the promise of a new skin-like material, the scientists also predict the advent of a new generation of robots called mood bots. According to their statements, robots outfitted with this material will be able to change both color and mood according to whom they are talking to.
For example, robots equipped with this kind of technology can change their color and mood if the person is aggressive. The robot can enter in a defensive stance and amend its color into something more passive. It can also make use of color variation techniques to calm down its master.
The artificial skin, according to the team, was fabricated using three panels of HLECs. Each of the three panels contained up to six layers of HLEC. The first two layers have pneumatic actuators, which are used to provide movement. The other four layers include various materials which can change their color when they are exposed to electricity.
How about touch? The scientists explained that the material being made of multiple layers, a machine, like a robot, can detect when and where the material is deformed. By using this information, the robot can feel the world around it.
The glow-in-the-dark skin helps robots to sense touch, thus paving the way for a new generation of lightweight, hyperelastic construction materials.