Pressure-sensitive transistors known as "taxels" could give robots a sense of touch. The taxels consist of bundles of vertical zinc oxide nano-wires that convert mechanical motion into electronic controlling signals, with control achieved through a technique called "strain-gating." "Any mechanical motion .. could be translated to control signals. This could make artificial skin smarter and ... allow the skin to feel activity on the surface," said Zhong Lin Wang, a Regents' professor and Hightower Chair in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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