This electronic skin can help prevent the robots from crushing us

A metal robot hand with the “Terminator”-like power sounds good for the movie. But what about a real-life future where android is now rocking your baby, or simply shaking your hand? That is when the attributes, such as a “soft” and “sensitive” may be more justified to prevent a for people overwhelming results.

Electronic skin may be the answer, as it could give, such as robots (and even prosthetic limbs the ability to feel how powerful their hands are shaking and rocking to the interaction with the man.

A new electronic skin may also prove more robust than the previous versions to prevent damage. It might even be curable with the help of an alcohol solution. [Body and bio-electronics: 5 Technologies that Can Flex]

Electronic skin, also known as e-skin, made of thin, flexible materials that are studded with pressure, temperature and other types of sensors to mimic the function and the mechanical properties of the human skin. A number of the different types of e-skins are in development all over the world. For example, as reported in 2014 was heated to help prosthetic limbs that feel more like living specimens. Another e-skin, reported in 2016, possessed electronic hair to help the e-skin feel better in his environment.

A weakness of the previous e-skins is that the chemical bonds used to make them, are relatively weak. Although they are malleable like human skin, “they were not very robust,” which means that they would be thin, said study co-author Wei Zhang, a biochemist at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

The new e-skin is not only flexible, but also laced with silver particles only nanometers or billionths of a meter thick, that the increase of the mechanical strength and chemical stability, and the resulting chemical bonds lead to a stronger e-skin. “It is certainly more robust than people’s skin,” said Zhang Live Science.

Sensors embedded in the new e-skin measure pressure, temperature, humidity and ventilation. “If you want a robot touching a baby or from the patient, then how much power will the robot?” Zhang said. “That is the reason why these sensors are important — to help the robot sense the right amount of force to apply, and have to say, the feeling when a baby has a fever.”

The researchers noted that if the e-skin is cut or torn, it will heal with the application of the three commercially available compounds dissolved in alcohol. During this rehealing, new molecules grow on the broken surfaces, leads to chemical bonds joining the pieces together, he’s mimicking the skin’s natural rehealing process, the researchers wrote online Feb. 9 in the journal Science Advances.

Also, this new e-skin is completely recyclable when dissolved in a solution that can then be used to produce more e-skin.

“Given all of the electronic waste that is now generated worldwide each year, it is good that our advance can also help lead to a more sustainable electronic skin,” Zhang said.

The scientists now want to work together with researchers in the field of artificial intelligence and biomedical technology “for the integration of these electronic skins with robotics and prosthetics,” Zhang said.

Original article on Live Science.

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