Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Sept 2006)

typed for your pleasure on 19 September 2006, at 8.05 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Never understand’ by the Jesus and Mary Chain

Stumbled across this encouraging article on a new blog called The Fembot Chronicle, which in turn got it from Pink Tentacle, which in turn obtained it from the Yomiuri shimbun. That’s a lot of turning.

Robot beauty goes skin-deep

In a move that could provide a crucial boost to our robotic friends struggling up the near side of the Uncanny Valley, major cosmetics manufacturer Kao Corporation and a Keio University research team led by robotics professor Takashi Maeno have developed an artificial skin that feels just like human skin.

Skin, the largest organ of the human body, consists of a soft layer of tissue (dermis) covered by a tougher protective layer (epidermis). The artificial skin developed by Kao and Keio mimics the feel of human skin with a 1-cm thick “dermis” of elastic silicone covered by a 0.2-mm thick “epidermis” of firm urethane. Countless tiny hexagonal indentations etched into the urethane epidermis provide it with a very realistic texture.

In a series of unscientific tests, 10 out of 12 people who touched the skin thought it felt like human skin, while equipment designed to measure the mechanical properties of skin confirmed the artificial skin had characteristics resembling human skin.

The skin was unveiled earlier this month at the 24th Annual Conference of the Robotics Society of Japan (RSJ) at Okayama University. While Kao plans to use the artificial skin in the development of new cosmetics, Professor Maeno sees potential applications in the field of household robotics, where there are many opportunities for human-robot interaction.

[Source: Yomiuri Shimbun]

Once again, Japan’s making impressive strides towards actual Synthetiks in society. Well done, Keio University team members!

By the way, the site where I found the illo used above would be ALIEN1452; if you’d like the NSFW scintillating full-sized version, you can clicky here, as it’s well worth it

Technorati tags: Android, Gynoid, Keio University, Kao Corporation, artificial skin

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