Caltech assistant professor of medical engineering, Wei Gao, has developed a new platform for robots and their operators known as M-Bot. When it hits the mainstream, the technology will allow humans to control robots more precisely and help protect them in hostile environments.
The platform is based around an artificial skin that effectively gives robots a sense of touch. The newly developed tool also uses machine learning and forearm sensors to allow human users to control robots with their own movements while receiving delicate haptic feedback through their skin.
The synthetic skin is composed of a gelatinous hydrogel and makes robot fingertips function much like our own. Inside the gel, layers of tiny micrometer sensors — applied similarly to Inkjet printing — detect and report touch through very gentle electrical stimulation. For example, if a robotic hand picked up an egg too firmly, the artificial skin sensors would give feedback to the human operator on the sensation of the shell being crushed.
Wei Gao and his Caltech team hope the system will eventually find applications in everything from agriculture and environmental protection to security. The developers also note that robot operators will be able to “feel” their surroundings, including sensing how much fertilizer or pesticide is being applied to crops or whether suspicious bags contain traces of explosives.
Abdulmotaleb El Saddik, Professor of Computer Vision at Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, has noted that the new development offers even more applications and possibilities: “The ability to physically feel the touch, including handshakes and shoulder patting, could contribute to creating a sense of connection and empathy, enhancing the quality of interactions, particularly for the elderly and people living at a distance or those who are in space [such as] astronauts connecting with their family and children”.
UAE’s du Teams With Huawei For Net-Zero Telecom Services
The telecommunications company aims to promote sustainable development across the region.
du, one of the UAE’s major telecom providers, is boosting its efforts to help the Emirate towards a low-carbon future. The company aims to upgrade its diesel generator sites in remote communities and has ambitious plans to achieve net zero in collaboration with Chinese tech giant Huawei.
The primary goal for du is to reduce reliance on diesel generators, which in turn will cut down on maintenance costs and lower fuel consumption. Over 300 remote sites will be upgraded to advanced hybrid power solutions, lowering the company’s carbon footprint while improving efficiency and network coverage. Huawei’s hybrid generators include state-of-the-art lithium batteries and will reduce carbon emissions by over 10,000 tons – the equivalent of planting 500,000 trees per year.
“This initiative not only lowers our carbon footprint but also ensures the delivery of more eco-friendly and sustainable services to communities in even the most remote desert regions,” explained Saleem AlBlooshi, chief technology officer at du. “Our unwavering commitment to environmental responsibility reflects our determination to contribute to a greener and more sustainable future for all”.