University of Connecticut researchers have created a sensor that can lead to artificial skin help burn victims amputees by enabling them to ‘feel’ again by sensing vibrations, pressure and even magnetic fields.
Researcher Islam Mosa told Digital Trends, “The type of artificial skin we developed can be called an electronic skin or e-skin. It is a new group of smart wearable electronics that are flexible, stretchable, shapable, and possess unique sensing capabilities that mimic human skin.”
For creating the sensor for artificial skin, the team wrapped a silicone tube with a copper wire and filled the tube with an iron oxide nanoparticle fluid. As the nanoparticles moved around the tube, they created an electrical current, which is picked up by the copper wire. When the tube experiences pressure, the current changes.
Apart from sensing environmental changes just like human skin, the e-skin can also feel magnetic field and sound wave vibrations. The aim was to develop an artificial skin that could sense beyond human capabilities.
Another researcher Abdelsalam Ahmed said, “A big motivation to develop this e-skin sensor was to extend the capabilities of this technology to superhuman abilities. We proved that e-skin can alarm humans of the surrounding danger before accidents happen.”
Detailing their work in Advanced Materials, the researchers believe that this invention will find applications in hazard prevention electronics, next generation remote health care monitoring, and rescue robotics.
For future, according to Science Daily, the team will attempt to flatten the tubular prototype so that it can function more effectively as a skin layer. “The inspiration was to make something durable that would last for a very long time, and could detect multiple hazards,” said Mosa.