Biomedicine: Self-Healing, Recyclable Electronic Skin

Summary of headline:

  1. The development of electronic skin at the University of Colorado Boulder could have implications for improving prosthetic limbs in the future.
  2. “If you think about what real skin can do, real skin can prevent people getting burned [and] can prevent people getting hurt,” Wei Zhang, a chemistry professor at Boulder and co-author of the study, told Newsweek.
  3. The e-skin is a thin, semi-transparent material that can act like your skin through measuring temperature, pressure, humidity and air flow.
  4. “This has quite broad applications, in a sense, to enable sensation of otherwise passive systems,” Jianliang Xiao, mechanical engineer at Boulder who led the study, told Newsweek.
  5. The new material, which was detailed in a study published Friday in Science Advances,could make better prosthetics, improve the safety of robots in the future and aid development of other biomedical devices.
  6. For instance, if the e-skin is wrapped around a prosthetic hand, the e-skin would enable the prosthetic to sense for pressure when holding a glass cup.
  7. Heat and pressure can allow the e-skin to wrap around curved objects easily, such as human skin and intricate robotic hands.
  8. © JIANLIANG XIAO/UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO BOULDER A section of the electronic skin developed by scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder.
  9. This e-skin has the ability to sense for pressure, which is a key factor for improving prosthetic limbs.

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