Using Intel’s neuromorphic chip, Loihi, researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) developed an artificial skin that allows robots to detect touch 1,000 times faster than the human sensory nervous system. The system can also identify the shape, texture and hardness of objects 10 times faster than the blink of an eye. The researchers believe this work could improve human-robot interaction, making things like caregiving robots and automated robotic surgery more feasible.
The NUS team first taught a robotic hand fitted with their artificial skin to read Braille. The robotic hand passed the tactile data to Loihi, which translated it. Loihi was over 92 percent accurate and used 20 times less power than a standard Von Neumann processor.