E-skin may already respond to touch, but it does not respond well to other painful stimuli such as injections and burns. This presents a problem in the manufacture of prostheses or robots, which must respond in the same way as a human. However, such skin may become more sensitive in the future.

Researchers at RMIT University have developed artificial skin that reacts to pain in the same way as human skin. It can provide “almost instant” feedback if the pressure and temperature are high enough to make the person scream in pain.

Researchers have developed e-skin that responds to pain like human skin

A wearable prototype of such artificial leather is made of a stretchable, extremely thin conductive material (a mixture of oxides and biocompatible silicone) with a pressure-sensitive, thermosetting coating and cerebral memory cells. According to researcher Dr. Ataura Rahman, the material is sensitive enough to tell the difference between a soft pin prick and a painful prick. The structure of the material mimics the neurons, neural pathways, and receptors that govern human perception.

Researchers have developed e-skin that responds to pain like human skin

So far, this project is still far from the stage of implementation of the final product. However, the potential uses of such e-skin are clear. A prosthetic hand can better reproduce the sensation of a real object and keep people safe from danger. Other potential applications include robotics and non-invasive skin grafts.

Source: Engadget

By Alex

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang is a Silicon Valley-based consultant and writer. His latest book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less (Basic Books, 2016) and The Distraction Addiction (Little Brown, 2013) blend history, psychology, and neuroscience to explore the hidden role of leisure and mind-wandering in creative lives.

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