22-Feb-2016 - King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

Smart skin made of recyclable materials may transform medicine and robotics

Smart skin that can respond to external stimuli could have important applications in medicine and robotics. Using only items found in a typical household, researchers have created multi-sensor artificial skin that's capable of sensing pressure, temperature, humidity, proximity, pH, and air flow.

The flexible, paper-based skin is layered onto a post-it note, with paper, aluminum 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.

"Democratization of electronics will be key in the future for its continued growth. In that regard, a skin-type sensory platform made with recyclable materials only demonstrates the power of human imagination," said Prof. Muhammad Mustafa Hussain, senior author of the Advanced Materials Technologies paper. "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."

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