Silicone sex dolls are the state of the art in artificial lovers, and we are a long way from real sex robots. But one thing that would help move sex dolls forward dramatically would be to make them touch sensitive, and responsive according to your touch. Touch response already exists, but we’re talking about touch screens on ipod and tablet computers–not exactly the type of surface you want to be interacting with.
What we need is a breakthrough in skin that not only recognizes your touch, but also feels like real skin. Well, now technology is taking us that one step closer to this intermediate step towards sex robots.
British materials firm Peratech is developing artificial electronic skin for robots at MIT’s Media Lab that will allow machines to know where they have been touched and with what degree of pressure. So you could tickle, back-slap, or caress your favorite robot, and it would know the difference.
Peratech is using its “quantum tunnelling composite” (QTC) material to create touch-sensitive skin for intelligent machines at MIT. QTC is a low-cost, flexible, and electrically conductive material that would give robots a new means of interacting with people.
Made of spiky metallic nanoparticles and silicone rubber, QTC works by changing from an insulator into a conductor when pressure is applied. Peratech says robots equipped with QTC skin would be able to detect where they have been touched using a matrix of sensors on various body parts.
Peratech’s material has been used as a touching technology in NASA’s Robonaut, and well as by the Shadow Robot Company. No doubt robotic hands and manipulators would benefit from touch-sensitive skin for better grasping of objects, but I bet sex robot developers will take a lot of interest in this sort of material, too
“No doubt robotic hands and manipulators would benefit from touch-sensitive skin for better grasping of objects?” Yeah, that’s what we were thinking too.