Researchers in China have fitted robots with graphene to give them a greater sense of touch.

A new type of graphene electrode — an electrical conductor, not the sphere-shaped electric Pokémon — has been developed to provide “ultra-sensitive and controllable flexible capacitive pressure sensors”.

Researchers at the Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology of Chinese Academy of Sciences and the National University of Singapore have worked together to create the technology.

Flexible pressure sensors allow robots to ‘feel’ their external environment, and the use of graphene, widely regarded as one of the world’s most attractive new materials for its wide array of use cases, provides a new solution for the next generation of ultra-sensitive tactile technology.

The researchers tested different sizes of graphene in the electrodes, from just a few up to hundreds of nanometres. They found graphene electrodes were able to offer high-performance capacitive pressure sensor with high sensitivity, fast response, low detection limit, high flexibility, and high stability.

Economics analyst Fior Markets recently estimated the size of the graphene nanocomposites market to be worth $1.1 billion alone by 2026.

It said that demand for graphene will only continue to increase as the relatively new material proves itself across a vast array of industries.

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