Debasmita Banerjee
Debasmita Banerjee
Instrumentation
14 Apr 2016

Scientists Develop Self-Propelled 'Smart Skin'

A large portion of the science and technology community believes in developing a full proof robot that can mimic a human with utmost accuracy. This creator-like ability has been showcased while devising many distinct artificial organs, among which smart and sensitive skin are worth a mention. It allows an electronic circuit assembly to literally “feel” or sense the objects surrounding the system. Although, the currently available artificial skins provide more or less required outputs, it is not exactly like the humans’ sensitive skin and touch element.

Now, a group of scientists from the Peking University has managed to fabricate a self-powered, highly sensitive, economical and transparent smart skin, which is simpler in design when compared to other contemporary versions. The problem with such a high-end technology is that it requires constantly increasing the number of electrodes and a highly complex circuitry. These factors result in a significant hike in the cost, leading to inefficiency. The team leader, Haixia Zhang and her colleagues curved out a path by which the problems got resolved and a simpler design emerged as the output.

smart_skin

The team took help of an ultra-thin plastic skin and incorporated four electrodes made of silver nanowire, instead of 36 electrodes that are used in other variants. Moreover, the system can be self-sustained by generating power using its own movement. No extra sources are required to drive the system. Rather, a conversion of mechanical energy from hand movements results in electrical energy, which is further used for its own work. The system is sensitive enough to identify any flying object approaching towards the direction of the system, and maintains a decent electrical stability. The complete research report was published in the 26th March issue of the ACS Nano journal.

Source: ACS Nano

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