Japan advances in the development of "perfect" humanoids

Japan’s most prestigious educational institution, the University of Tokyo, and semiconductor company Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic), today unveiled an ultrasensitive sensor for robot use.

The prototype was produced based on MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) nanotechnology and is as small as a bread crumb. It’s made of silicon and covered with elastic rubber. The scientists involved in the project say their sensor can detect pressure and friction of objects weighing just 1g.

Existing tactile sensors are too large to be implanted into robot hands but this new device can be embedded underneath a robot’s fingers, just like human nerves.

Commercialization of the sensor is scheduled to begin “in a few years”. Matsushita and the university are specifically planning to use their technology in robots engaged in nursing care and household work.

Via Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]