Pressure sensitive “whiskers” could enhance robots’ mobility according to researchers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The futuristic whiskers are comprised of silver nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes and printed on elastic fibers.
Cats’ whiskers are used as “tactile sensors” to help them move around objects, similiar to hairs on the skin of a human.
“We can use this kind of device in many kinds of applications,” said researcher Dr. Kuniharu Takei, of Osaka Prefecture University in Japan. “Even if a robot can’t see an object it can detect spatial distribution by using this device on the side of its arm or foot.”
These whiskers can would not just help robots but could also help with the development of artificial skin. “The applications are mainly for robotic skin, prosthetic skin, and some other human interface devices,” said Takei.