Graphene-skinned robotic arm gains extraordinary sensitivity

A team of researchers from the University of Glasgow led by Dr. Ravinder Dahia has developed graphene-based e-skin with increased sensitivity and the ability to generate energy from the sun. It can find application in the creation of "sensitive" prostheses and robots with touch.

Graphene is an almost ideal material for collecting solar energy and converting it into electrical energy. While the energy produced by the skin has not been stored, scientists are looking for ways to "store" energy in batteries to use when the need arises.

According to Dr. Dahia, the reference point for scientists has become the human skin, which is a complex biological system that reacts to changes in temperature and pressure.

The team has already made progress in prototyping sensitive synthetic skin prostheses. Such prostheses are capable of performing complex tasks, for example, interacting with soft materials that are inaccessible to other artificial manipulators.

Experimental prostheses can already reproduce many of the mechanical movements characteristic of human limbs, and in combination with sensitive skin, their capabilities increase many times over.

Artificial leather consumes just 20 nanowatts per square centimeter, about the same as affordable mid-range photovoltaic converters.

The next step, according to Ravinder Dahia, will be the ability to use the energy received to set the arm in motion, and then create a fully autonomous prosthesis.