Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Electric Touch

Researchers have developed a new type of artificial skin for future robots: one which grants them a rudimentary sense of touch. Sensors in the skin respond to changes in thickness due to pressure. It's capable to detect pressures as gentle as the feeling of typing on a keyboard or holding a small object such as a pencil or an EMP grenade.

Just kidding. There's probably no need to carry EMP grenades around these touchbots. Just like there's probably no need to keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. It's just there for peace of mind.

If we're to enslave robots for delicate tasks like polishing our fine crystal or lifting our privates to get at those hard-to-scrub areas, it's important that they be sensitive enough to not accidentally crush objects with their unholy strength. It's also important that they learn how to be tickled, as robot laughter is the best medicine for electrical burns.

Researchers say before touchbots are ready for the Sears catalog, this artificial skin may be used to grant skinless humans a new lease on touch. Pretty soon, we'll all be able to feel medical droids poking needles at the fingers of our new robot hands before we retire to our bunks for a little advanced testing.