They adapted also a technique developed by Karl Deisseroth, a fellow professor of bioengineering at Stanford who pioneered a field that combines genetics and optics. This artificial skin which mimic the human skin could be used to build a prosthetic hand or leg providing the sense of touch. The researchers tested their design by connecting a prosthetic hand fitted with their artificial “skin” to a slice of brain from a mouse cultured in vitro and concluded that stimulation to the “skin” produced neuronal activity. “The next step we want is to do such experiments in live animals, and increase the complexity to add other sensing functionalities,” says Bao. They want to obtain an artificial “skin” that can feel temperature or texture rather than just pressure. In other words, this is another domain to prove that technology of the future is here.