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Electronic skin senses touch

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2:38pm, January 11, 2004

Someday, robots swathed in pressure-sensitive electronics may feel their environment. That's the vision of Japanese researchers who have laminated a rubbery, pressure-sensing membrane onto a flexible layer of plastic transistors to create a primitive artificial skin.

Engineers Takao Someya and Takayasu Sakurai of the University of Tokyo have demonstrated that pressing the tip of a thin metal bar against this faux skin generates a weak electric signal at the point of contact. They described their new material on Dec. 8, 2003, at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting in Washington, D.C.

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