Robots look set to feature prominently in our society down the road, as technology advances to ever more impressive levels. Recently, a research group at Osaka University were working on a robot hand for tele-handshaking purposes, where it is capable of communicating a person’s grip force, body temperature, and touch. According to the research group, “In ordinary video-conferencing systems, it’s difficult even to see life-sized pictures of other people. But by attaching this robot hand, you can shake hands with people at a distance. Shaking hands like this gives a greater sense of other people’s presence than you get with regular video-conferencing systems.” So far, initial trials have shown that in the robotic reproduction of an actual human’s hand, three of the most important aspects would be texture, temperature and a sufficient grip force. Silicone rubber and sponge will step up to the task in order to simulate the elasticity of human skin alongside its underlying muscle structure, while there will be an appropriate temperature that needs to be achieved thanks to clever implementation of a film heater. The robot’s hand temperature is set at 37 degrees C, making us feel as though it is as warm as an actual person. I wonder if the T-800 had synthetic skin like this…


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