Skip to main content

Featured Article Scientists Create “Artificial Electronic Skin” From Nanowire Mesh

IN PICTURE:Javey’s team impressed a “C” for Cal on their e-skin

From “When the Robots Sing ‘Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch-Me,’ the E-Skin Is Working,” on the DISCOVER blog Science Not Fiction:That’s right, e-skin. A group of scientists at UC-Berkeley devised a flexible mesh using nanowires to create a substance that reacts to pressure, and, as their paper in Nature Materials said, “effectively functions as an artificial electronic skin.” In the same issue, a team from Stanford University announced it had devised a kind of skin so sensitive, it can detect the weight of a bluebottle fly. All of which means for one shining issue, a scientific journal was a skin mag.That’s right, e-skin. A group of scientists at UC-Berkeley devised a flexible mesh using nanowires to create a substance that reacts to pressure, and, as their paper in Nature Materials said, “effectively functions as an artificial electronic skin.” In the same issue, a team from Stanford University announced it had devised a kind of skin so sensitive, it can detect the weight of a bluebottle fly. All of which means for one shining issue, a scientific journal was a skin mag.That’s right, e-skin. A group of scientists at UC-Berkeley devised a flexible mesh using nanowires to create a substance that reacts to pressure, and, as their paper in Nature Materials said, “effectively functions as an artificial electronic skin.” In the same issue, a team from Stanford University announced it had devised a kind of skin so sensitive, it can detect the weight of a bluebottle fly. All of which means for one shining issue, a scientific journal was a skin mag.Devised by a team lead by Zhenan Bao, puts highly specialized rubber between two electrodes. The rubber holds the electric charge until something alights on it (or has its dessicated corpse plunked on it). The rubber distorts, changing the amount of charge its holding, which is picked up by the electrodes and transmitted as a signal.Javey’s e-skin also measures extremely small changes in pressure: from 0 to 15 kilopascals (equivalent to 2.17 psi), about the level of force needed to type on a keyboard or hold an object.Instead of specialized rubber, the e-skin uses a fine mesh of nanowires made from germanium and silicon, layered under special rubber. The nanowires hold the charge the rubber did in the Stanford experiment.The skin holds potential (get it?) for providing sensitivity for artificial limbs for people and robots alike.I hate to use press release quotes but Javey explained it well: “Humans generally know how to hold a fragile egg without breaking it. If we ever wanted a robot that could unload the dishes, for instance, we’d want to make sure it doesn’t break the wine glasses in the process. But we’d also want the robot to be able to grip a stock pot without dropping it.”


Of course work on e-skin has been ongoing for decades: a University of Tokyo team devised an electrically sensitive rubber that reacted to being stretched back in 2008, and the British firm Paratech released a skin-like material using carbon particles, called QTC, in 1996.As for calling all this stuff e-skin, well, what are you going to do, that’s what the researchers chose. At least it’s not iskin.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top 5 Women Who Impacted Technology in 2010

Katie Stanton, International Strategist for Twitter Katie Stanton has impressively long names of companies in her resume. They include the White House, Google Inc, and her latest addition is Twitter. Her remit is working on Twitter’s international strategy and her experience in social media will be a key asset to the company. Katie has a history of working in technology, and her knowledge of departmental laws will help Twitter work alongside government agencies, as she’ll be spearheading the free information approach, especially after the Wikileaks incident. Stanton has been a key player in the techsphere for some time, and this extends to her private life. Following the Haiti disaster she worked with a group of engineers to create a free texting service to help those in need and she is constantly in demand as an expert in both social media and government policy.
Caterina Fake, Co-Founder of Flickr and Hunch Despite having a surname which sounds like a pseudonym for a spy (it’…

Evolution Of Computer Virus [infographic]

AT&T MiFi 2372 review

In the week or so that I have been testing the AT&T MiFi 2372 by Novatel Wireless, it has already saved no less than three lives. First, it saved my cable guy’s life. You see, Time Warner Cable provides the worst home Internet service I have ever experienced. I can’t even think of a close second. If providing terrible home Internet service was a sport, Time Warner Cable would be on its tenth consecutive undefeated season. Forget the fact that my upload speed is capped at 60Kbps and I’m lucky if I can get half that — it has been months since I’ve gone through a full day without at least one service interruption. Months. Unfortunately, Time Warner Cable has an exclusive contract with my building so I have no choice but to endure its abysmal service. Last week, as a Time Warner Cable technician entered my home for the sixth time in two months, I realized that this certainly would have spelled serious trouble had it not been for my trusty new back up device. Before the Mi…