Let's Make Robots!

Human Skin Replication

I am starting thinking about human skin replication, and would like to coat a robot in it oneday. Silicone seems to be the most popular choice around, but does anyone have any thoughts on the best material?

I was also thinking of replicating 'body warmth' with some kind of 'electric blanket' type wire running through it to make the robot feel the same temperature as a real person.

Would appreciate any thoughts.

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The conductive foam that ICs are packed into make pretty good pressure sensors.  The resistance goes down as they are squeezed.  Of course it is (usually) very flexible.  You can buy larger sheets of it  You might also try flex sensors.I think Budget Robotics carries them.  They change resistance when bent and are sometimes used in virtual reality glove fingers.  Google can help you find information on both.

This is a very interesting top.  Right now I am focusing on 50s to 70s style appearance for my robots, but am interesting in moving into partial androids somewhere further down the road.   Good luck with your projects.  Can't wait to see the results.

"50's to 70's style for appearance", what does that mean exactly?

Thanks for the encouragement, I'm aiming to build a robotic/animatronic head. Will post it up on this great site when I'm done.

I've thought about this a bit and I feel a heated liquid pumped throuth bulit in tubing would be a better and safer idea then the heating wire style.  that has less chance of burning the "skin" and will give you some thermal mass so you don't have to always be runing power to keep a temp.

the best material I've seen used for skin is the platinum-cure silicones like dragon skin that's what's used for a lot of FX and well... life sized "toys".

also if you're looking to give it some sensors remeber to give the leads some slack and think about fiber optic sensors if you can. that leads to less problems with replacing things if anything goes bad. 

What a brilliant idea with the radiated heat from liquid in tubes... hmmm... It's got the gray matter going; thank you for your thoughts.

More research that I've done, Dragonskin mixed with EcoFlex from the company Smooth-On seems to be a pretty good answer to the skin problem. Yes, they make the life sized "toys" from them, but hey, that just means it's good stuff!

I haven't heard of fiber optic sensors before, will look into them, thanks. I was thinking of using pressure sensors around the skin area at different densities.

I read about the fiber optic a few years ago and I just throw them in because they sound like a good idea. in principle they work like a variable light resistor in a way, you have one group of fibers pumped with light and another group leading back to a light sensor in silicone. adding pressure to the silicone presses the fibers closer together letting light to leak over to the sensor fibers and so more pressrue equals more light.

it may not be as simple as some other kinks of pressure sensors but all the part that could fail can be placed somewhere easy to get to.

I've thought about this a bit and I feel a heated liquid pumped throuth bulit in tubing would be a better and safer idea then the heating wire style.  that has less chance of burning the "skin" and will give you some thermal mass so you don't have to always be runing power to keep a temp.

the best material I've seen used for skin is the platinum-cure silicones like dragon skin that's what's used for a lot of FX and well... life sized "toys".

also if you're looking to give it some sensors remeber to give the leads some slack and think about fiber optic sensors if you can. that leads to less problems with replacing things if anything goes bad. 

I've thought about this a bit and I feel a heated liquid pumped throuth bulit in tubing would be a better and safer idea then the heating wire style.  that has less chance of burning the "skin" and will give you some thermal mass so you don't have to always be runing power to keep a temp.

the best material I've seen used for skin is the platinum-cure silicones like dragon skin that's what's used for a lot of FX and well... life sized "toys".

also if you're looking to give it some sensors remeber to give the leads some slack and think about fiber optic sensors if you can. that leads to less problems with replacing things if anything goes bad. 

It is interesting that you mention this subject now. I am preparing to do some experiments with embedding heat and pressure sensors directly into a sheet of rubber prior to being vulcanized. This allows me to mix layers of different rubber including layers of different hardness. This is because the softest rubber provides good grip but mounting fixtures pull through it too easily.

Would love to hear more about what your research with that comes to. I'm starting my own research with this, with the aim of making a robotic/animatronic head. Will share as the project evolves.