Sensory, Light-Up Skin and the Dawn of Touchy-Feely Robots

Tech

It doesn’t sound like much: some material that lights up when you touch it. Don’t we already have that? This morning I touched a button on my microwave to warm a cup of cold coffee, and bam, the insides lit up. My family was in on the touch-sensitive lamp fad, where tapping the lamp’s metal base cycled the power. When I touch my iPhone’s dimmed glass screen, it lights up. We’ve had touch-sensitive material that can trip mechanisms (and turn on or off lights) for decades.

But this is different: the underlying material, made from plastic, is thin as a piece of paper — thin enough that it draws comparisons to human skin and flexible enough to fold into a cylindrical shape, like rolling up a newspaper. We’re not talking mere binary touch, either, where the embedded sensor detects an on/off state and either lights up or turns off: gently…

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By BeEtLjOoZ

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