Loihi Artificial Skin Detects Touch 1,000 Times Faster Than the Human Nervous System

A photo of Loihi's neuromorphic chip.
A photo of Loihi’s neuromorphic chip. Intel

Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) are using the Intel Loihi neuromorphic chip to grow artificial skin. Skin senses touch 1,000 times faster than the human nervous system and could help improve robotic automation in medicine, manufacturing, and services.

The NUS team presented their research at Robotics: science and systems conference earlier this week. They detailed how robotic hands equipped with the artificial skin system can read braille with 92% accuracy, while using 20 times less power than a traditional processor.

Intel modeled its Loihi chip on the human brain, so its architecture is significantly different from typical Von Neumann processors. It might not replace your computer’s CPU or GPU, but the Loihi chip is a remarkable development for AI and robotics that requires speed, precision, and power efficiency. According to the NUS research team, its artificial skin system processes sensory data 21% faster than leading GPU hardware, while using 45 times less power. (Hey, maybe we could use this system with VR.)

We are still only in the first chapters of robotics and artificial intelligence. Over time, products like the Boston Dynamics Spot will only become cheaper, more common and more complex. Prepare for a strange future!

Source: National University of Singapore via Engadget

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