Chinese scientists develop a bionic skin that connects a person to robotic nurses

Científicos chinos desarrollan una piel electrónica que conecta una persona con robots-enfermeros

Posted:

20 ene 2022 00:59 GMT

With improved haptic feedback, the correction allows the operator to remotely control the robot and feel what it is feeling without the risk of injury.

The coronavirus disease has caused global panic due to the high rate of infection. In this period, one of the most important applications of robotic virtual reality is to help medical personnel carry out their tasks and reduce the risks of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 infectious environments.

With this in mind, a team from several Chinese institutions has developed a flexible and wireless skin patch that enables the exchange of tactile stimuli between a human worker and a robot, TechXplore reports.

The device was designed by the City University of Hong Kong, Dalian University of Technology, Tsinghua University and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, and is sensitive enough to pick up movement and stress factors, for example, twists and turns.

Although the technology that allows humans to remotely operate robots already exists, this ‘electronic skin’ patch is much smaller, easier to work with and apparently provides more information than its peers.

In an article published in Science Advances, Chinese researchers explain the technical features that make this possible.

The patches are placed on the joints of the actuator, they have sensors that react when the actuator is bent and send the corresponding signal to the robot directly via Bluetooth, a local area network or the Internet.

Sensors are made of materials whose electrical resistance changes when subjected to mechanical stress, allowing the operator’s movements to be captured.

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The system allows for bidirectional feedback, whereby similar sensors are attached to some elements of the robot. The signals are sent to the electronic skin, where they activate small magnets that vibrate at different frequencies, depending on the pressure applied.

Although it is still a prototype, the system could be useful in the future, as a user can remotely control a smart robot to perform many complex tasks, such as squatting, walking, room cleaning and patient care.

The study indicates that integrating visual and tactile virtual reality, through electronics embedded in the skin, into robotic virtual reality shows great potential in offline biological sample collection or care of patients with infectious diseases.

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