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Science

Artificial pain sensors could help robots avoid damaging themselves

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Artificial skin that can sense potentially harmful forces could help robots detect danger, in a similar way to how pain helps people avoid hazards.

In humans, painful sensations come from a complex interplay between peripheral nerve signals and the brain’s interpretation of them. Electrical spikes sent by pain sensors in the skin, called nociceptors, are relayed through nerves to several parts of the brain, which can lead to self-preserving actions, such as moving a hand away from a sharp knife.

Jie Tan at Hunan University…

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