Monday, March 18, 2013

Let’s think of robots who can cook even eggs now

Can you think of a machine, which can hold a fragile egg without breaking it? Even robots with sensory components were not expected to deal frail substances with delicacy, as they were lacking the quality which is referred as "thin-skinned". Technology is that extravaganza that says ‘yes’ to all those ‘no’s of the common world. In this instance, the miracle is initiated by the engineers at UC Berkeley who have formulated an electronic material from semiconductor nanowires which are pressure-sensitive and could be an answer for all the questions on the touching sense of robots.

Scientists were on a struggle to design robotic devices that are able to adjust the measure of power required to hold and function various objects. The newly discovered pressure-sensitive materials are projected to master that serious problem. The UC Berkeley engineers detected a mode to produce bantam "nanowires" from a silicon-germanium alloy. These nanowires are planned to be formed on the exterior of a cylindrical drum, which can then be rolled around a viscous film, to stick the wires in a consistent model.

The approximation of the entire discovery is evident in the words of Mr. Ali Javey, the head of the UC Berkeley’s artificial skin developing research team while he said "The idea is to have a material that functions like the human skin, which means incorporating the ability to feel and touch objects".  The research team refers the thin skin as “e-skin" and title it as the foremost material created out of inorganic single crystalline semiconductors. Apart from using it in Robotics technology, these nanowires are anticipated to restitute the sensory faculty of touch to patients of prosthetic limbs that needs substantial improvements in the consolidation of electronic sensors with the nervous system of human beings as well.
All the former efforts to produce an artificial skin with flexible organic materials failed because the poor semi conductivity of organic materials.  The electronic devices built out of organic materials would need high voltage electricity to function the circuitry, where as the inorganic materials like crystalline silicon, have splendid electrical dimensions and thus can work even in low power. Inorganic materials are chemically stable as well. The highly figured basic nature of inorganic materials is inflexibility and easiness to crack. The new discovery has proved that inorganic nanowires of very small size can be formed highly flexible.

To construct the e-skin, the engineers made the nanowires of size 18-by-19 pixel square matrix with a length of 7 centimeters on each of its sides. Each of these pixels comprised a transistor made of numerous semiconductor nanowires. These Nanowire transistors are then incorporated with a pressure sensitive rubber situated on top to furnish the sensing practicality. The UC Berkeley engineers employed a groundbreaking manufacturing technique that executes like a reverse lint roller where nanowire "hairs" are deposited in it, instead of picking up fibers in a lint roller. Now, the days are not very far where a robot could unload the dishes without breaking the wine glasses during the process.


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