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Robots can now be given a sense of touch that allows them to 'feel' sensation, pressure, and even temperature—and it could take sex robots to a whole new level.
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) have developed a printed artificial 'skin' enabling robots to touch and feel things.
The technology has been created to help robots detect pollution or even examine luggage in an airport for explosives. Humans could use it to control a robotic arm and 'feel' feedback from a distance using the 'squishy' robot flesh.
Wei Gao, one of the professors behind the development, said: "Modern robots are playing a more and more important role in security, farming, and manufacturing.
"Can we give these robots a sense of touch and a sense of temperature? Can we also make them sense chemical like explosives and nerve agents or biohazards like infectious bacteria and viruses? We're working on this."
While this robotic skin is being designed with scientific and security purposes in mind, it could also lead to hyper-real sex robots capable of feeling.
These android pleasure robots have a small but dedicated following around the world, and companies like RealDoll are pouring thousands of pounds into research to make them more realistic.
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It's unclear whether the synthetic robot flesh developed by the CalTech team will ever become cheap enough to make a 'feeling' sex robot feasible, but if combined with smart conversational AI, lonely doll owners could suddenly have a mutiny on their hands from newly-intelligent sex robots.
One sex robot fan, 'T', started an Instagram account for one of his dolls posing as a real woman.
The doll's Instagram bio says: "Celestina is a model, news correspondent for TFM News, an avid cosplay enthusiast, and an advocate for sex dolls and robots, and those that love them."
However, with the robotic skin still at the proof of concept stage, it's unlikely we'll see sex robots with feeling any time soon.
"I think we have shown a proof of concept, but we want to improve the stability of this robotic skin to make it last longer," said Dr Gao, referring to the development required to make the skin work for new commercial and industrial applications.
Dr Gao added: "By optimising new inks and new materials, we hope this can be used for different kinds of targeted detections. We want to put it on more powerful robots and make them smarter and more intelligent."
- Sex Robot
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