Scientists made electronic skin that mimics the sense of touch – DNyuz

Scientists made electronic skin that mimics the sense of touch

Scientists with the Bao Research Group at Stanford University have created a new electronic skin that can mimic the sense of touch. The “e-skin,” as some refer to it, is detailed in a new study featured in the journal Science. It is fascinating because the skin can not only be soft and stretchy, but also produce nerve-like signals that directly communicate with the brain.

Previous attempts to make skin like this have required very rigid electronics in order to convert the sense of touch and other nerve-like signals. Researchers have converted pressure and temperature senses into electrical signals using a thin stretchable material.

The resulting electronic skin has already known immense success during the researcher’s study. Zhenan BAO, senior author and co-author of the research, said that mimicking touch was not difficult. Bao said in a press release that the challenge was not finding ways to replicate human sensory abilities. . It is more difficult to bring all these components together with only skin-like material.

“Much of that challenge came down to advancing the skin-like electronic materials so that they can be incorporated into integrated circuits with sufficient complexity to generate nerve-like pulse trains and low enough operating voltage to be used safely on the human body,” Weichen Wang, first author of the paper said about the electronic skin.

The skin relies on layers of technology like a soft integrated circuit that mimics the sensory receptors found in human skin. This circuitry relies on a very low voltage to run efficiently, requiring only five volts. Researchers say this type of electronic skin is vital for creating new-age prosthetics that can not only restore movement but provide sensory feedback.

It’s definitely a far cry from earlier tech like Facebook’s touch glove, which let you experience touch in virtual reality, and hopefully, future research and development brings some widespread availability of this kind of technology for those who need it. Similar tech developed in Singapore could also help push this next generation of prosthetics.

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