Hexagonal plate skin isn't soft and elastic like real skin, nor is it meant to protect against the elements. Instead, it's intended to instill a sense of touch in robots.
According to Gizmag, the technology, developed by Technical University Munich, uses infrared light sensors that detect anything which comes within a centimeter of the "skin."
But with human skin also conveying other information, such as temperature, shear forces and vibrations, the TUM researchers have also embedded the plates with six temperature sensors and an accelerometer. The researchers say these will give a robot self-perception by allowing it to accurately register the movement of individual limbs to learn which body parts it has moved.
So far, researchers have only linked together 31 sensors as a proof of concept, but eventually, they will completely cover the robot in the electronic skin. [Gizmag]