News World Star Wars inspires new smart skin

Star Wars inspires new smart skin

Researchers at the National University of Singapore have developed an AI device with a sense of touch that can identify objects and textures.

Inspired by the original “Star Wars” trilogy, this AI device can feel and identify objects and textures.

“So I was heavily inspired by ‘Star Wars.’ There was a scene where Luke Skywalker lost his hand, and towards the end, a robot surgeon repaired his hand, complete with full sensation. And I really wanted to recreate this science fiction scene into scientific reality.”

Assistant professor Benjamin Tee from Singapore University says this ‘smart skin’ could help develop prosthetic limbs that can feel and sense temperatures and even pain.

The device, officially dubbed ACES (Asynchronous Coded Electronic Skin), is composed of 100 different small sensors and is about one square centimetre in size.

Researchers at Singapore University say it can process information faster than the human brain, recognise 20-30 different types of textures and read Braille letters, all with over 90% accuracy.

“So if it’s a squishy object like a soft tomato, is it overly ripe? These are things that we can train the machine algorithms to detect. In our case, we use our brain to interpret, but in this case we use AI to understand these sensors.”

In some ways, ‘smart skin’ might be even better than human skin, according to Tee.

“So humans need to slide to feel texture. But in this case, the skin, with just a single touch, is able to detect textures of different roughness, and so in some sense, it’s quite difficult to cheat this skin, especially when it’s combined with AI algorithms that can learn very quickly.”

The project has been in development for the past two years.

Tee says the technology is still in the experimental stage and has yet to hit the private market. But he says there has been “tremendous interest,” especially from the medical community.

Source: Reuters London

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