# AI News, E-skin able to detect changes in wind, water drops and moving ants

## E-skin able to detect changes in wind, water drops and moving ants

As scientists continue to improve the look and capabilities of robots, one of the prime areas of research is skin.

It was made by covering a magnetic sensor with a hollow polymer membrane and then embedding magnetic beads in the top part of the membrane.

The electronic circuit then converts the signals to a series of pulses of varying frequencies that reflect the amount of pressure being 'felt' on the skin.

The researchers created an artificial finger covered with the e-skin and then attached the finger to an artificial arm for testing purposes.

They report that the skin they created was able to generate pulses for pressure as small as that created by a line of ants running over the surface.

## Remote tactile sensing system integrated with magnetic synapse

Tactile sensation recognizing from surrounding environment through the direct contact of force, vibration and temperature, is regarded as a next-generation technology for applications in information gathering and transfer as well as artificial intelligence1,2,3,4.

In particular, biomimetic tactile sensors have attracted considerable attention as the core technology for replacing human sensing in minimally invasive surgery, health monitoring, robotics, virtual reality, and prosthetics5,6,7,8,9,10.

Moreover, in the near future, various types of manufacturing robots are expected to co-operate with human workers in factories, and tactile sensing is a key technology for ensuring the safety of human workers and natural motion of robots11.

However, sensors based on flexible bulk elastomers suffer from high hysteresis, low sensitivity, limited sensing range, temperature-dependent displacement, and polymer swelling23,24 due to the intrinsic viscoelastic properties of elastomer composites25.

Therefore, the development of universal tactile sensors with high sensitivity in wide working range is one of the major challenging issues for use in practical applications such as robotic skin, medical diagnostic devices, and bionic arm electronic skin (Table S1).

Several interesting approaches have been proposed for attaching flexible electrodes to human skin or fabrics via silver nanowires28, liquid metals29, and sinuous thin Si ribbons30 for reliable performance under stretching and bending.

Severe signal disturbances due to external electrical, magnetic, and thermal noise lead to various problems, as the external pressure contact sites are locates close to the physical sensing elements.

Human skin is a fascinating tactile sensing system having multiple functions for detecting external stimulations, such as pressure, shear force, stretching, sliding, vibration, and temperature, with high accuracy and reliability.

In human beings, tactile sensing is performed by the central nervous system when sensing signals from the mechanoreceptors inside the fingertips are transmitted through nerve cells by contactless methods in the synapses26,32,33.

Inspired by human tactile sensing and synaptic transmission, this paper proposes a remote tactile sensing system integrated with a magnetic synapse to overcome the above-mentioned issues of flexible tactile sensors.

The developed remote tactile sensing system consists of a remote touch tip that generates air pressure by external touch, an air tube that delivers the generated air pressure, and a magnetic synapse that transduces the air pressure into electrical signals.

Specifically, the magnetic field intensity changes as the thin elastomer membrane is deflected by air pressure, which varies under external stress from the remote touch tip and is transmitted through the air tube.

The remote touch tip, which has no electronic component, provides robustness and its tactile sensing capability is not affected significantly by external electrical, magnetic, and thermal noise even in water or harsh environments.

Physical separation of the remote touch tip and the magnetic synapse, as in the case of human tactile sensing, makes the remote tactile sensing system robust against external electromagnetic and thermal noise.

The Ecoflex membrane has an embedded permanent magnet whose position changes as the Ecoflex membrane is deflected by air pressure variations generated in the remote touch tip by external stimulations.

Previously, we developed a highly sensitive hybrid MR sensing element, which combines anisotropic magnetoresistive (AMR) and planar Hall effects (PHE), consisting of multi-ring structures (diameter, 300 µm) in a hybrid Wheatstone bridge34,35,36.

To optimize the sensitivity and dynamic range of the remote tactile sensing system, the initial vertical distance of the permanent magnet relative to MR sensing element should be less than 3 mm, which is categorized as the active distance.

A finite element model of the simplified remote tactile sensing system was developed for the correlation between pressure and magnetic distance using COMSOL Multiphysics 5.2 (hyperelastic module).

The properties of the developed remote tactile sensing system were characterized using a custom-built system that can apply precise values of pressure to the sensor and measure the output signal in terms of electrical voltage.

The output signal can be formulated in terms of the external pressure through the correlation function $${\rm{V}}=({{\rm{f}}}_{n}({{\rm{g}}}_{n}({{\rm{h}}}_{n})))={{\rm{F}}}_{n}(P)$$ (see supplementary materials for function $${{\rm{F}}}_{n}(P)$$) from output signal to magnetic field, magnetic field to magnetic displacement, and magnetic displacement to external pressure.

Moreover, the remote tactile sensing system can discriminate a very high pressure resolution as it detects the placement and removal of ultralight pieces of sandpaper (30 mg each) on the touch pad (Fig. 3b), which corresponds to 6 Pa.

The measured response time (rise time) of the remote tactile sensing system, defined as the time interval between 10% and 90% of the output step height, was 40 ms (Fig. 3f), which is similar value to the response time of human fingertips in the range of 30 to 50 ms37.

For the case of bionic arm skin, the signal distortion due to the bending of (articular) joints in the finger and arm originating from the air tube needs to be minimized.

Our remote tactile sensing system consists of a touch tip that is spatially separated from the sensing magnetic synapse, and the touch tip can be placed and operated in water or extreme environments.

In addition, medical diagnosis via pulse measurement from the wrist (real-time monitoring of heart rate and relative blood pressure) was demonstrated using the developed tactile sensing system (Fig. 4d).

The remote touch tip measured the heart rate and relative blood pressure as the finger was bent to touch the wrist of a human subject gently, and measurement was ceased when the finger was unfolded, mimicking a doctor’s motion (Movie S4).

The remote tactile sensing system with the robot hand successfully monitored the heart rate and relative blood pressure in situ with heart physiology information, as the output signal patterns showed that the heart rate and relative blood pressure increased after exercise.

## Safety, ethical considerations, and application guidelines for the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation in clinical practice and research&#x02606;

Recording of electroencephalographic (EEG) activity immediately before, during, and after TMS is possible provided that certain technical challenges are addressed and few precautions taken (Ilmoniemi et al., 1997;

Problems related to the saturation of the EEG recording amplifiers from the TMS pulse have been overcome via artifact subtraction, pin-and-hold circuits, the use of modified electrodes which do not transiently change their shape due to the stimulus impact, and altering the slew rate of the preamplifiers.

However, in Table 2, special emphasis is placed on patient populations who might be more vulnerable to TMS due to several factors (i.e., brain damage, drug treatment or discontinuation of treatment for the purpose of a study).

Aftereffects have been observed on a variety of EEG/EP-measures including oscillatory activity over motor and prefrontal areas (e.g., Strens et al., 2002 and Schutter et al., 2003) as well as somatosensory (e.g., Katayama and Rothwell, 2007;

For the studies using conventional rTMS protocols (low frequency: 0.9 and 1 Hz, high frequency: 5&#x02013;25 Hz), the direction of the aftereffect (when present) was as expected, with facilitation prevailing over suppression after high frequency TMS (n = 12 vs.

This parallels previous findings on lasting changes in neurophysiological measures after rTMS over motor areas (MEP-amplitude) without parallel changes in amplitude or velocity of voluntary finger movements (e.g., Muellbacher et al., 2000).

Although speculative at this point, it is probably safe to conclude that the time of potential aftereffects would be slightly, but not dramatically, underestimated if equated to the duration of observable behavioral effects (using safe parameters).

Yet, with the previously employed parameters (as compared to standard protocols: similar number of pulses but considerable shorter duration and lower intensity of stimulation), the duration of the effects on EEG activity (measured so far using SEP-amplitude after sensorimotor stimulation) (Katayama and Rothwell, 2007;

Recently, 24 healthy volunteers participated in 2 randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over experiments and underwent continuous TBS (cTBS), intermittent TBS (iTBS), and shamTBS either over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (n = 12, Figure 8 coil) or the medial prefrontal cortices (n = 12, double-cone coil) (Grossheinrich et al., 2009): the only EEG aftereffects were current density changes in the alpha2 band after iTBS of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which remained detectable up to 50 min after stimulation.

Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have created electronic skin that is sensitive enough to record changes in the direction of the wind, falling drops and movement of ants.

Scientists have covered the magnetic sensors with a hollow polymer membrane, and then built in the magnetic beads in its upper part.

They report that the skin they created could generate impulses in response to even the slight pressure exerted on it by ants running across the surface.

Lec 16 | MIT 16.885J Aircraft Systems Engineering, Fall 2005

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