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Giving the sense of touch to robots, however, isn’t easy. Consider how complicated touch is for biological bodies. It picks up on temperature, force, texture, weight and shape. It relies on different types of receptors in multiple layers of the skin. From there, the brain and body work together to produce the perception of touch. Touch is very important but also very complex,” says Perla Maiolino, an associate professor of engineering at the University of Oxford. High development costs are a big hurdle. Industry insiders say that once a company decides a key problem can be solved by adopting robotics using electronic skin, that should become a tipping point, helping drive down the cost of its development. People will expect pats on the back, high-fives and hugs from robots, says Wenzhen Yuan, an assistant professor in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. It’s an area that must be studied more before robots get integrated into our lives, she adds.