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New Artificial Skin For Robots Allows Them To Feel Things

A groundbreaking new development from a Caltech researcher means that robots will soon be able to “feel” their surroundings, with sensations relayed back to human operators.

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new artificial skin for robots allows them to feel things

Caltech assistant professor of medical engineering, Wei Gao, has developed a new platform for robots and their operators known as M-Bot. When it hits the mainstream, the technology will allow humans to control robots more precisely and help protect them in hostile environments.

The platform is based around an artificial skin that effectively gives robots a sense of touch. The newly developed tool also uses machine learning and forearm sensors to allow human users to control robots with their own movements while receiving delicate haptic feedback through their skin.

The synthetic skin is composed of a gelatinous hydrogel and makes robot fingertips function much like our own. Inside the gel, layers of tiny micrometer sensors — applied similarly to Inkjet printing — detect and report touch through very gentle electrical stimulation. For example, if a robotic hand picked up an egg too firmly, the artificial skin sensors would give feedback to the human operator on the sensation of the shell being crushed.

Also Read: Futuristic Electric Self-Driving Trucks Are Coming To The UAE

Wei Gao and his Caltech team hope the system will eventually find applications in everything from agriculture and environmental protection to security. The developers also note that robot operators will be able to “feel” their surroundings, including sensing how much fertilizer or pesticide is being applied to crops or whether suspicious bags contain traces of explosives.

Abdulmotaleb El Saddik, Professor of Computer Vision at Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, has noted that the new development offers even more applications and possibilities: “The ability to physically feel the touch, including handshakes and shoulder patting, could contribute to creating a sense of connection and empathy, enhancing the quality of interactions, particularly for the elderly and people living at a distance or those who are in space [such as] astronauts connecting with their family and children”.

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Hamad International Wins 2024 Skytrax World Airport Awards

The Qatar airport also won “World’s Best Airport Shopping” for the 2nd time, and “Best Airport in the Middle East” for the 10th year.

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hamad international wins 2024 skytrax world airport awards

Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Doha, Qatar, has once again won the “World’s Best Airport” title at the Skytrax World Airport Awards. The award ceremony, held at the Passenger Terminal Expo 2024 in Frankfurt, Germany, also saw Hamad clinch the accolade of “World’s Best Airport Shopping” for the 2nd time in a row and “Best Airport in the Middle East” for an impressive 10th consecutive year.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer, Eng. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, who played a key role in the airport’s development over the past decade, said: “This is a remarkable achievement for Hamad International Airport, as it celebrates its 10th anniversary of operational excellence, connecting passengers seamlessly from all around the world. It is a testament to the dedication of our team and partners, who have contributed to providing passengers with the finest travel experience”.

hamad international airport doha qatar

Al-Meer emphasized the importance of understanding changing travel trends and the needs of modern air passengers: “At the heart of our growth strategy lies the passengers’ journey, their evolving needs, and our commitment to meeting and exceeding their expectations. We have introduced a diverse range of experiences at the airport, including Souq Al Matar, which brings Qatari hospitality and culture closer to travelers, “Orchard”, the ideal place for relaxation and rejuvenation between flights, and an array of high-end lounges”.

Also Read: Top E-Commerce Websites In The Middle East In 2024

Hamad International Airport saw a massive 31% surge in passenger traffic during 2023, with the transport hub now serving over 45 million passengers annually. The airport is now home to prestigious airlines, including Vistara, Iberia, Xiamen Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, and Japan Airlines, serving 250+ destinations for passenger and cargo flights.

The uptick in traffic is no doubt due to the completion of the first phase of an extensive expansion project. Hamad’s management intends to radically update the airport’s facilities over the coming years in a bid to create the “airport of the future”. The expansion features a unique and calming environment of lush greenery and several contemporary dining and shopping concepts among the already well-equipped leisure facilities.

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