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Electronic skin feels the heat, hears the sound

New materials show promise for covering prosthetic limbs, other medical devices

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2:00pm, October 30, 2015

ELECTRONIC TOUCH  A new kind of electronic skin, designed to mimic the skin of human fingertips, can sense pressure, texture, temperature and even sound. 

A new electronic skin can feel the grain of sand paper, the heat and beat of a person’s pulse — and listen to Richard Feynman’s voice, too.

Rubbery plastic-and-graphene film mimicking the structure of human skin can detect texture, temperature, pressure and sound, Hyunhyub Ko and colleagues report October 30 in Science Advances.

It’s the first time anyone has demonstrated an e-skin that can sense so many different kinds of stimuli, says Stanford University materials scientist Alex Chortos. “That’s the innovative and impressive part of this work.”

Chortos and colleagues recently developed another pressure-detecting e-skin that sends signals directly to mouse brain cells. The cells got the message, too — they dialed activity up or down depending on how hard researchers pushed on the skin, Chortos

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