Washington: A team of scientists have created artificial skin that recreates the sense of touch for the people wearing prosthetic limbs.
The prosthetic skin, dubbed "smart skin," which shows soft mechanical properties, multimodal sensing capabilities and warmth corresponding to that of human body, will help amputees feel their environment, whether that be humidity in the air, or a warm, firm handshake, CBS News reported.
Co-author Kim Dae-Hyeong said that previously, these robots or prosthetic arms/legs did not have skins that enable high resolution/sensitivity sensing of pressure, strain, temperature, humidity, so they focused on this point by developing high density/sensitivity sensor array that is similar with the real human skin.
The smart skin, which was engineered with a durability and flexibility that is close to natural skin, is made of a soft polymer known as elastomer and contains pressure, temperature and humidity sensors and stretchable electrodes that stimulate the existing nerves.
The researchers from South Korea and the United States were able to demonstrate how the skin could sense pressure from catching a ball as well as the temperature of a cup of hot or cold water and also showed that it could tell wet from dry and the skin's heat sensors responded when it touched a baby doll warmed to body temperature.
The skin also features electroresistive heaters that emulate body heat, as in, in a handshake, or on a baby's tummy, an artificial limb would give off familiar warmth.