NEWSBYTE: Electronic skin that mimics the functionality and mechanical properties of human skin has been developed at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Embedded sensors in the material can sense tactile, temperature, flow, and humidity changes. This is made possible by silver nanoparticles within the skin. These conduct electricity, while keeping the substance malleable enough to be shaped around complex surfaces.
Synthetic skin can solve a host of problems, and it has a broad range of applications in robotics, prosthetics, healthcare, and human-computer interaction.
The e-skin is based on a newly-developed dynamic covalent (electron-sharing) thermoset – a type of plastic that gets stronger when it is heated.
If this is moderately damaged, it can be repaired by applying a re-healing agent (a polyimine film) and heat pressing, to restore the skin’s mechanical and electrical properties. The reversible bond exchange used to form the skin also means that it is fully recyclable.
The researchers have published a paper setting out full details of the project.
Internet of Business says
The possible healthcare applications of electronic skin technology, such as prosthetics, monitoring, and biomedical devices, are exciting. These kinds of applications are emerging elsewhere, too. Researchers at the University of Tokyo have produced an e-skin that can transmit biometric data to the cloud and display an electrocardiogram.
Highly mobile, durable, e-skin medical devices would prove particularly useful in disaster or battlefield scenarios, where larger monitoring tools are neither practical nor easily available.