Electronic Skin: From Flexibility To A Sense Of Touch

Authored By admin

March 30, 2022

The idea of reviving human and machine senses has long been the preserve of science fiction, but it is now becoming a reality. Bionic eyes, for example, are being developed by scientists all over the world to restore sensory sensations to the disabled or give machines functional sensory capabilities. 

Robots and people with prosthetic limbs will soon be able to feel the sense of electronic skin. Wearable technology may one day be possible if this field continues to develop.

What Is Electronic Skin?

Electronic skin, or simply “e-skin,” refers to devices that mimic the properties of human skin while also incorporating additional features. There are many exciting skin properties, including its ability to stretch, self-heal, and be tough and resilient. It also can sense touch. 

Electronic skin will be essential as robots become more commonplace in our daily lives. Tactile sensing is vital if your robot will help you around the house or provide medical care. Objects that it grasps must be able to detect when a surface is slippery and sense their form, texture, and temperature. The robot can decide how much force to apply when holding an object if it can feel its properties.

Wearable technology makers and enthusiasts have been intrigued by distributed sensors to detect subtle pressure changes. E-skin, or artificial electronic skin, has the potential to be used for on-body health monitoring and minimally invasive surgery, as well as in robotics and prosthetics.

What Makes Electronic Skin So Special?

We’ll see a significant breakthrough as soon as electronic skin can be made flexible and deformable like human skin. Flexible Electronic Skin that is both soft and comfortable would improve the user’s ability to manipulate objects and eliminate the discomfort and inconvenience currently associated with the alternatives. 

Wearable technology could also benefit significantly from this development. Microelectronics technology is currently flat, which means that the skin cannot conform to curved surfaces. These issues can be addressed in various ways from various angles. The flexible printed circuit board was the first method used to create bendable electronic skin

Standard electronic and sensing parts are attached to flexible printed circuit boards using soldering irons. Mechanically integrated but otherwise distinct and stiff sub-circuit islands of electronic components, connected by metal interconnects, are a close approximation of these solutions.

Humanizing Prostheses

Health care applications for e-skin include prosthetics that simulate touch, monitors for vital signs like heart rate and temperature, wound care, and medication delivery. Technology and academic institutions are pursuing each other.

For example, researchers from Stanford University in California have developed a highly sensitive sensor that may be embedded into a prosthetic limb’s electronic skin. As light as a butterfly landing on the prosthesis, the Stanford team created a sensor to detect pressure and quickly transmit it back to the user.

Electronic skin for prosthetic hands has been developed in Daejeon, South Korea, by scientists at the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials. To recognize an object’s shape and texture, it measures the intensity of force, pressure, or stress and determines its direction.

Conclusion: The Future!

Electronics that are both lightweight and highly functional are in higher demand. One such device, the Electronic Skin, exemplifies both the aesthetic appeal of electronics and the practicality with which it might be put to use. Scientists have developed artificial electronic skin that mimics human touch. 

Researchers say electronic skin is “smarter and more like human skin.” It also has a higher level of sensitivity and resolution than other commercially available methods. Sensors and displays that can be bent have been used in the past. 

It is possible to foresee many patients’ onset of a heart attack hours in advance. We may even be able to use virtual screens on our devices to keep track of our body’s operations. Smartwatches, automotive dashboards, and interactive backgrounds all use this technology.

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