Innovative New Sensors May Transform Robotic and Prosthetic Limbs

Date:1 August 2022 Author: Rienk De Beer

An innovative attempt to create cutting-edge pressure sensors for robotic systems may revolutionize artificial limbs and prostheses.

By utilizing highly accurate pressure sensors that deliver haptic feedback and distributed touch, the creative research project seeks to create sensors that give robots improved capabilities and aid in enhancing their motor skills and dexterity, according to scitechdaily.com.

It is directed by the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), Integrated Graphene Ltd., and financed by the Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering (SRPe) and the Industry Doctorate Programme in Advanced Manufacturing of the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS).

Professor Des Gibson, the project’s primary investigator and the director of the Institute of Thin Films, Sensors, and Imaging at UWS, said: “Over recent years the advancements in the robotics industry have been remarkable, however, due to a lack of sensory capabilities, robotic systems often fail to execute certain tasks easily. For robots to reach their full potential, accurate pressure sensors, capable of providing greater tactile ability, are required.

“Our collaboration with Integrated Graphene Ltd, has led to the development of advanced pressure sensor technology, which could help transform robotic systems.”

The sensors use a piezoresistive method and are made of 3D graphene foam, which exhibits special features when subjected to mechanical stress. This indicates that the material dynamically alters its electric resistance when subjected to pressure, quickly identifying and adjusting to the range of pressure required, from light to heavy.

Gii, their innovative 3D graphene foam, has the ability to mimic the sensitivity and feedback of human touch, which could have a transformative impact on how robotics can be used for a whole range of real-world applications, from surgery to precision manufacturing, according to Marco Caffio, co-founder and chief scientific officer at Integrated Graphene.

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