Facebook is now called Meta – and as part of the announcement of this renaming, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg once again explained his idea of a Metaverse. This metaverse is therefore a mixed world of “real” and virtual reality. Now the VR research department of Facebook / Meta Fair (Facebook AI Research) has developed a technology together with researchers from Carnegie Mellon University that, according to Zuckerberg, would be ideally suited for use in the Metaverse.
Physical interactions in the metaverse
The system called Reskin is a kind of artificial skin for robots. On Monday, Zuckerberg praised the development as “a further step on the way to realistic virtual objects and physical interactions in the Metaverse”. Reskin is made of a malleable elastomer that contains micromagnetic particles. The system also consists of a thin, flexible circuit board, which, according to Fair Manager Abhinav Gupta, is “essentially a grid of magnetometers”.
Magnetometers are sensors that measure magnetic flux densities can. The artificial skin works in such a way that when it comes into contact with another surface, its magnetic field changes. The magnetometer registers this change and forwards the data to an AI software, as CNBC writes. This interprets the type of touch and the force applied. Robots could “feel” what they are touching. This could be decisive for realistic haptic feedback in virtual environments. In addition, robotic arms could be used for applications in which they have to handle easily destructible objects.
Reskin: Inexpensive, durable material
Reskin can detect forces of less than a millimeter wide objects of up to 0.1 Newtons. The robot skin itself is approximately three millimeters thick and is very inexpensive to manufacture. According to Engadget, 100 units can be had for around six US dollars. At the same time, Reskin has a lot of stamina. The system can make 50,000 touches before it needs to be replaced.