If you could get the robot that can express its emotions through touch would you be interested? My guess is YES!

Technology has rapidly advanced over the years, and there is no sign of it slowing down. Having knowledge of modern technology is a must-have for your everyday life.

The evolution of electronic toys provides a striking resemblance to that of the evolution of Robotic technological advancement. From its initial stages of simple robots that are programmed to perform simple actions to highly sophisticated robots with artificial intelligence, we have come a long way in improving the quality of robots.

This article introduces the new intelligent robots technology. It also introduces the future development of this promising technique. Recently, Cornell researchers developed a soft robotic skin that can change its texture to express its internal state, i.e. emotions. The prototype, a cute smiling creature with rubber skin can animate a combination of goosebumps and spikes.

Collaborators: Yuhan Hu, Zhengnan Zhao, Abheek Vimal.

In a recent interview, researchers said that “The main idea behind research in human-robot interaction to the robot’s intelligence. Robots use nonverbal behavior to communicate affects their potential to be useful to people, and psychological effects also. Mainly having a robot use nonverbal behaviors can help make it be sensed as more familiar and less machine-like.”

What’s the aim of developing this cute smiling creature?

The aim of developing this soft skin creature is to express emotions and other internal states through texture change. They present two forms of expressive texture change inspired by skin texture changes appearing in nature:

Goosebumps

  • The Goosebump TU (TU-GB) contains an inner cavity in the shape of a column with a slightly rounded top, and without any rigid elements attached.
  • The TU-GB transforms from an initially flat surface to a smooth bump under inflation, and to a slight dent under deflation.

Spikes

The Spike TU is structured as a two chamber design:

  • A conical upper spike chamber above a column-shaped chamber. An elastomer ring at the interface between the two chambers to constrain radial deformation.
  • A rigid element on the tip of the TU-S made of Polylactic acid (PLA), featuring a sharp tip for both visual and haptic expression.

Skin change is a useful communication medium since it works on two mediums. It is sensed not only visually, but also haptically, if the human is holding or touching the robot. This can give humans a new medium for communicating with robots and understands them better.