ITRI helping entrepreneurs build robots with the human touch (2018/10/15)

  • 2018-10-15
  • Yinung Chen

The development of robotic systems has one clear trend: with every innovation, robots acquire a new ability that was once unique to humans. In Taiwan, the Industrial Technology Research Institute is helping tech firms develop increasingly human-like robots. One of its latest projects is haptic sensing technology that lets robots feel things just like human skin can. 

The robotic arm moves quickly, bumping into objects but always stopping before damage is done. The researchers are testing the sensing capabilities of this robot's haptic technology.

Su Jui-yiao
Robotics entrepreneur
Robotic haptic technology allows robots, which were once cold machines, to have sensing abilities similar to what our skin has. This provides real-time protection from dangerous situations.

Haptic sensing technology can enhance the efficiency of machinery. Eight years ago at ITRI, Su had worked on enhancing the work capacity of man-machine technology with Hu Jwu-sheng, the current director of the Mechanical and Mechatronics Systems Research Laboratories. It was then that he became inspired to embark on his own venture.

Hu Jwu-sheng
ITRI lab director
Let's say in 10 years every robot has sensing capabilities, well then who's going to provide this sensing technology? I offered up this challenge to Dr. Su Jui-yiao back then.

Step by step, Su and his R&D team at ITRI set up machinery and software that incorporates haptic sensing, and then they ended up developing this technology. It's the world's only haptic skin technology that can mass produce products. In the future, it could be the solution to labor shortages in the electronics industry.

Lu Yuan-li
Robotics entrepreneur
We estimate that in 2018 at least 250,000 new robots will be sold across the world. Based on our conservative estimates, the demand will exceed US$1 billion per year.

Market economics have driven demand for robots with haptic skin technology. Su firmly believes their sensing technology will open up avenues to opportunity and propel them to become a leading brand.