But not all automated helpers are equipped with sensors to facilitate collaboration with humans.
Enter a research team from the USA and their new textile skin which can sense human contact and pressure. Comprising three layers, the ‘sweater’ can be custom-knitted to fit any shape.
Between two outer layers of conductive yarn is a patterned mesh structure. When pressure is applied, the three layers are pushed together, creating a flow of electricity.
A connected monitoring system registers the location and nature of the contact and directs the robot accordingly.
An elephant’s trunk has already provided inspiration elsewhere.