Robots to read expressions with help of new wearable sensor

Scientists have taken a major leap in making robot-human interaction look more natural and realistic by creating a new wearable sensor that will give robots the power of reading human’s expression. With the help of ultra-sensitive, transparent and stretchable sensor, robots would be able to read facial expression like smiling, anger, disappointment, etc.

To develop the wearable sensor, Lead researcher Nae-Eung Lee from Sunkyunkwan University, Seoul, used several layers of carbon nanotube film on two different kinds of electrically conductive elastomers.

“After several tweaks, we were able to create a wearable sensor that will help robots in understanding human expression like laughing or crying and where they were looking”, said Lee. He further added that this gadget will open the new gates for the medical industry. Apart from having applications in robotics, this sensor could be used to monitor heartbeats, breathing, dysphagia and other cardiovascular diseases.

Scientists believe that this new device is one step towards making human-robot interaction more intuitive. “One way to make interactions between people and robots more intuitive would be to endow machines with the ability to read their users’ emotions and respond with a computer version of empathy,” said Lee.

Although the device is pretty expensive today just like robots. However, researchers believe that as technology grows in future, the human-like machines will become affordable and these robots will become part of our life and to help in every task, from serving guests to helping in household tasks. These robots will become assistants to people as depicted movies like IRobot, etc.

The study appeared in the journal ACS Nano.

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