Technical University of Munich Sensitive Artificial Skin

Robotic development is advancing at breakneck speeds, but not fast enough for a bunch of Sonny to take over our job, yet. In the meantime, now and in near future, humans are expected to work alongside robots. Robots will be doing “stressful” and repetitive tasks while humans will continue to deal with reactive tasks. Herein lies the risk: how can we ensure that robots don’t bump into people when working side-by-side with us? Well, this is an area where artificial robot skin by Technical University of Munich’s Institute for Cognitive Systems hope to address.

In addition to artificial intelligence and machine learning to foster a safe environment between humans and robots, the sensitive artificial skin developed by the institute will give robots human-like discrete receptors that can react to proximity and thereby avoiding potentially harmful contact. Looking at the big picture, we are inching towards a goal where a very human-like humanoid is totally plausible. Imagine this: a robot that has human-like vision, has “skin” loaded with discrete receptors that are as capable as us and rounding up with AI and the ability to continuously learn new things.

With all those in place, plus the imminent advancement in battery technology, you are looking at a world where the line between humans and robots are blurred. If you ask me, I’d say it will be more than what the movie I, Robot has envisioned. OK. That sounds like a receipt for a potential robot apocalypse. The possibility of a desolated future aside, the human race does indeed need to have these intelligent robots to help us.

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Our little blue marble is not expandable. There is this much room and resources for these many people. We can’t go on and produce more people just to replace the aging population. Producing more babies is not the solution. It only compounds the problems the human race is facing. That said, there is no doubt that robots, or intelligent artificial beings, are our only salvation. And in order for our salvation to materialize, it is imperative for robots to be as capable as humans, if not more.

But therein lies the danger too because, if an artificial beings have too much rationale and thoughts like we do, crimes are inevitable. This means the possibility of machine uprising is there too. It is a fine line to tread. I guess if that happens, it will be very far into the future. I will probably not see this day. So, do me a favor. If that actually happens, can you tell your grandchildren’s children to email me in hell where I will be. I’d want to know.

Jokes aside, artificial robot skin by Technical University of Munich’s Institute for Cognitive Systems is one of the many robotic developments that will be showcased at the automatica 2018, happening in June 19-22, 2018 in Munich.


Image courtesy of Technical University Munich.