Researchers at the University of Colorado in the United States have created an electronic skin that can regenerate on its own when torn. The study was published in the journal Sciences Advances, describing the extremely thin film equipped with sensors capable of measuring pressure, temperature, humidity and airflow.
Made with three compounds mixed in a matrix and bound with silver nanoparticles, the electronic skin manages to recreate bonds between the chemicals and between the two sides, rejoining. And if the fissure is too large, the skin can be soaked in a specific solution so that its materials are reused, allowing the creation of a new electronic skin. This skin may one day be used in prostheses, as well as robots and intelligent fabrics.
This is not the first electronic skin ever created. In Japan, researchers have managed to turn a T-shirt into a video game controller, for example, but this new electronic skin is particularly interesting just because it’s recyclable. According to Jianliang Xiao, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University, “we want to make electronics compatible with the environment.”
According to the creators of the product, the process of recycling the skin takes about 30 minutes at 60 degrees Celsius, or 10 hours at room temperature. Healing, however, occurs even more rapidly, requiring only half an hour for the skin to regenerate at room temperature, or a few minutes at 60 ° C.
But as promising as the invention may seem, it is still not perfect to be marketed. It is not as elastic as human skin, although it is soft, but the research team continues to work to make the device more scalable to the point of being used in dentures for people who have had amputated limbs.