On Wednesday, August 21, DGIST declared that Professor Jae Eun Jang’s team in the Department of Information and Communication Engineering finally created an electronic skin technology that will be able to detect “prick” and “hot” pain sensations like humans. This research result is expected to be applied to the development of humanoid robots and patients who will wear prosthetic hands in the future.
What led to the development of innovative electronic devices like the camera and TV, which are inventions that dramatically altered human life towards betterment, is the attempt to mimic human’s five senses.
Therefore, many scientists and researchers are continuously performing analysis to imitate tactile, olfactory, and palate senses and tactile sensing is also expected to be the next mimetic technology for different reasons. The most tactile sensor researches are currently specializing in physical mimetic technologies that measure the pressure utilized by a robot to hold an object, however, psycho-sensory tactile research on mimicking human tactile feeling like soft, smooth or rough has a long way to go.
As a result, Professor Jae Eun Jang’s team developed a tactile sensor that can feel pain and temperature like human through a collaborative research with Professor Cheil Moon’s team within the Department of Brain and Cognitive Science, Professor Ji-Woong Choi’s team within the Department of Information and Communication Engineering, and Professor Hongsoo Choi’s team in the Department of Robotics Engineering.
The aim of the research team was purely on zinc oxide nano-wire (ZnO Nano-wire) technology, which was applied as a self-power tactile sensor that doesn’t need a battery due to its piezoelectric effect, which generates electrical signals by detecting pressure.
Additionally, the research team succeeded in developing a signal processing technique that judges the generation of pain signals considering the pressure level, stimulated area and temperature.
Professor Jang, member of Department of Information and Communication Engineering aforesaid “We have developed a core base technology that may effectively notice pain, which is necessary for developing future-type tactile sensor. As an accomplishment of convergence analysis by specialists in nanoengineering, electronic engineering, robotics engineering, and brain sciences, it will be widely applied in electronic skin that feels various senses furthermore, new human-machine interactions. The analysis can be expanded more into technology to manage robots’ aggressive tendencies if they feel pain too, that is one among the risk factors of AI development.”