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Scientists work to improve 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.
  • The researchers aim to increase the sensitivity of the sensors in the future.

New research suggests robotic and prosthetic limbs could be transformed using 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 Program in Advanced Manufacturing and Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering with the aim of develop sensors that can improve robot motor skills and feedback by using pressure sensors that provide precise haptic feedback.

Graphene is used

Due to its unique properties, the sensors are made from 3D graphene, one of the most promising nanomaterials. Graphene is the thinnest yet strongest material that conducts heat better than any other material. Moreover, it is an excellent conductor of electricity and it is optically transparent but so dense, which makes it impermeable to gases.

Sensors made from 3D graphene offer unique capabilities when subjected to mechanical stress, as these sensors use a piezoresistive approach – when a material is pressurized, it changes its electrical resistance and adapts to changes of the environment, such as light.

Integrated Graphene Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Marco Caffio said, “Our new 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. – worldwide applications, from surgery to precision manufacturing.

Professor Des Gibson, lead researcher on the project, says the robotics industry has seen remarkable progress and transformation in recent years. Yet the system frequently fails to perform specific tasks due to a lack of accurate sensors.

Additionally, added Gibson, “our collaboration with Integrated Graphene Ltd has led to the development of advanced pressure sensor technology, which could help transform robotic systems.”

The next stage of the project will focus on improving the sensitivity of the sensor before expanding its application and use cases.

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