Scientists at Stanford University led by Professor Zhenan Bao have invented a revolutionary electronic skin (dubbed „e-skin”) with sensors for temperature, pressure and strain that enables amputees to obtain a sense of touch through the artificial limbs. The sensor can turn physical changes, such as applied pressure or a change in temperature, into an electrical pulse similar to the nerve impulses.The collected data are communicated to the brain.The new obtained material with integrated circuits resemples human skin ond offers a real tactile experience. This current e-skin really has all the attributes that we have been dreaming about,” says Professor Bao.
At present, the e-skin must still be wired to an external power source.The scientists plan now to develop an implantable chip that will enable wireless communication through the peripheral nerves in the body. Separate similar studies were receently developed by engineers at the California Institute of Technology and a team from the University of Edinburgh. The hope is to provide individuals with prosthetic limbs not only with enhanced dexterity but also with a fully immersive sensory experience. More and extended research is needed to make the „e-skin” usable as a common fact for people who need it.