What if robots, apart from being able to move like humans, and talk like humans, could also feel like humans?
That’s what researchers at Leibniz University in Hannover, Germany are trying to achieve. Johannes Kuehn and Sami Haddadin, two robotics experts at the university, have been working on ways to introduce pain into the mechanical mindset for years. In May, the pair presented their research at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA).
Like many robotic engineers before them, Kuehn and Haddadin used the human form as inspiration to create a skin-like tissue for robots.
The “nervous robotic tissue” acts in the same way human skin would: when there is damage, impulses are sent to the brain so that the source of the pain can be identified and alleviated.
For a robot, damaged robotic tissue would alert the operator of a problem, which could save companies millions in the long run; fixing initial damage is much cheaper than replacing an entire robot.