Scientists are working to enhance motor skills for prosthetics using advanced 3D sensors

Scientists are working to enhance motor skills for prosthetics using advanced 3D sensors
  • Advanced sensor for use in robotic and prosthetic limbs is under development.
  • The sensors are developed with the aim of improving motor skills.
  • Researchers are aiming to increase the sensitivity of the sensors in the future.
New research suggests that robotic and prosthetic limbs could be transformed with the help of advanced pressure sensors.
The research is led by the University of the West of Scotland, Integrated Graphene Ltd, and is supported by the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS) Industry Doctorate Programme in Advanced Manufacturing and Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering with an aim to develop sensors that can improve robot motor skills and feedback by using pressure sensors that provide accurate haptic feedback.

Graphene is being used

Because of its unique properties, the sensors are made from 3D graphene, one of the most promising nanomaterials. Graphene is the thinnest but strongest material that conducts heat better than any other material. Also, it is an excellent conductor of electricity and is optically transparent yet so dense, making it impermeable to gases.
Sensors made from 3D graphene offer unique capabilities when put under mechanical stress as these sensors use a piezoresistive approach - when a material is put under pressure, it changes its electric resistance and adapts to changes in surrounding such as light.
The co-founder and chief scientific officer at Integrated Graphene, Marco Caffio said, “our novel 3D graphene foam can mimic the sensitivity and feedback of human touch, which could have a transformative impact on how robotics can be used for a whole range of real-world applications from surgery to precision manufacturing.”
Professor Des Gibson, the project’s principal investigator, says that the robotic industry has seen remarkable progress and transformation over the past few years. Still, the system frequently fails to carry out specific tasks due to a lack of accurate sensors.
Further, Gibson added, “our collaboration with Integrated Graphene Ltd has led to the development of advanced pressure sensor technology, which could help transform robotic systems.”
The project’s next stage will focus on improving the sensor’s sensitivity before expanding its application and use cases.
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