A newly unveiled tactile sensor rivals the sensitivity of human skin. When pressed against a penny, for instance, the film can distinguish the wrinkles in Abraham Lincoln's clothing.
The transparent film—broader than a fingertip but less than one ten-thousandth as thick as typical human skin—may ultimately boost the tactile sensitivity of robots, says chemical engineer Ravi F. Saraf of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. It may also give surgeons using endoscopes a means to remotely evaluate tissue texture.
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