Robotics is being taken seriously nowadays owing to the need for easing the workload of the humans in various fields. The robots, especially humanoids, are currently being developed in large numbers so as to help people get a human-like partner, accomplish their sexual desires, help perform their daily chores, learn, socialize, and so on. Currently, there are many researches helping enhance the robotics technology. However, a certain group of individuals considers the expansion of the robotics world to be the upcoming crisis for the human generation.
The sensors and rubber electronics that can be stretched up to 50% of their usual stretchable limit are what they are planning to use as an artificial skin on the robots. The sensing capabilities along with the flexibility are what the researchers are planning to include in the robots or other electronic devices. The material built will function similar to that of the human skin, that is, it can sense temperature, strain, and pressure. Though the outer appearance may seem to look just like a rubber but in reality, it can function as a sensor and circuit.
The researchers from the University of Houston, who are pioneers behind the creation of the rubber electronics and sensors, believe that it will have applications in a number of wearable electronics, biomedical implants, smart surgical gloves, smart clothing, and other. The rubbery material can be stretched long enough when in the liquid form. It can also be used as a rubber-based ink or converted into 3D-printed objects.
In order to help the humans and robots build a strong bond, the robots will also have to be designed such that they can sense their surroundings. As an experiment, the electronic skin used on the robots was dipped in the hot and cold water and the robots gestured signs using alphabets from American Sign Language as well.
Robots are considered to be stiff and rigid but the use of the cheap alternative material instead of the usually used polymer has proved to be beneficial. The stretchable material known as “polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)” consisted of nanofibrils and silicon-based organic polymer. The use of this material on the robots helped them express sign language, sense the surroundings, or even bend easily to perform various tasks. Thus, the field of stretchable electronics seems to be changing.
Thus, let’s hope the alternative material can help strengthen the bond between the humans and robots.