New smart skin may transform medicine, robotics

Using items found in a typical household, researchers have created multi-sensor artificial skin that is capable of sensing pressure, temperature, humidity, proximity, pH and air flow.

The artificial skin can respond to external stimuli and could have important applications in medicine and robotics.

The flexible, paper-based skin is layered onto a post-it note, with paper, aluminium foil, lint-free wipes, and pencil lines acting as sensing components.

Being made of recyclable materials, this paper skin presents a large number of sensory functions in a cheap and environmentally friendly way.

“Democratisation of electronics will be key in the future for its continued growth,” said Professor Muhammad Mustafa Hussain, senior author of the research published in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies.

“In that regard, a skin-type sensory platform made with recyclable materials only demonstrates the power of human imagination,” said Hussain.

“This is the first time a singular platform shows multi-sensory functionalities close to that of natural skin. Additionally they are being read or monitored simultaneously like our own skin,” Hussain added.