Sense of Touch

Could graphene foam enable people with prosthetic limbs to feel the world around them?



Researchers hope that graphene foam sensors will aid in transforming prosthetics and robotic limbs by mimicking the sensitivity and feedback of human touch.

The project, led partly by the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), intends to build sensors that increase robot dexterity and motor skills by utilizing accurate pressure sensors that provide haptic feedback and dispersed touch.

The devices, which are comprised of 3D graphene foam, detect feedback when the material is compressed, causing a change in its electronic resistance. In addition, they can detect a wide range of pressures, from mild to heavy, by utilizing the piezoresistive effect.


The sophisticated technology "may help alter robotic systems," according to Professor Des Gibson, director of the Institute of Thin Films, Sensors, and Imaging at UWS and the project's primary investigator."Advances in the robotics business have been spectacular in recent years; yet, due to a lack of sensory capabilities, robotic systems frequently fail to do certain tasks easily," he stated."Accurate pressure sensors capable of delivering more tactile ability are essential for robots to realize their full potential."


The next stage of the project, which includes Integrated Graphene, will focus on increasing the sensitivity of the sensors before developing them for broader use in robotic systems.


"Gii, our novel 3D graphene foam, has the capability to mimic the sensitivity and feedback of human touch, which could have a transformative impact on how robotics can be used for a wide range of real-world applications from surgery to precision manufacturing," said Marco Caffio, co-founder and chief scientific officer at Integrated Graphene.

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