Researchers developed electronic skin self-healable, recyclable


When the skin is cut into two, the electronic skin self heals by recreating chemical bonds between two pieces.

Consisting of a translucent thin band, the electronic skin (abbreviated E-skin) tries to mimic numerous human skin's properties and functionalities and can be used in a wide range of applications.

Unlike other forms of e-skin, and unlike the Terminator, this isn't created to be worn by people, but it does have a number of potential uses in robotics and prosthetics. One day, this electronic skin could be used in prosthetics, robots, or smart textiles.

Researchers have developed a novel type of malleable, self-healing and fully recyclable "electronic skin", that has applications ranging from robotics and prosthetic development to better biomedical devices.

Boulder's researchers have fitted the e-skin with sensors embedded to measure pressure, temperature, humidity and air flow. If the e-skin is broken beyond fix, it can just be soaked in a solution that "liquefies" it so that the materials can be reused to make new e-skin. The recycled solution is then cast into a new, square petri dish (bottom right).

All these will happen in the future but, in the meantime, E-skin is just a new invention and most probably will need some improvements.

The material is a thin film made up of several compounds and polymers like polyimine, which have all been laced with silver nanoparticles to give it better strength, stability, and conductivity.

"Given the millions of tons of electronic waste generated worldwide every year, the recyclability of our e-skin makes good economic and environmental sense", Xiao added.

Jianliang Xiao, a mechanical engineer at the University of Colorado Boulder and the leader of the study, said that e-skin could lead to safer interactions between humans and robots in the future.

"If you think about what real skin can do, real skin can prevent people from getting burned [and] can prevent people getting hurt", study author Wei Zhang from the University of Colorado Boulder told Newsweek.

"All things considered, you would coordinate e-skin on the robot fingers that can feel the weight of the infant". "E-skin can basically mimic those [preventive] functions".

In July 2013, a different UC Berkeley team announced they had created an electronic skin that lights up when touched. Sandwiched between layers, organic LEDs were lit by semiconductor-enriched carbon nanotubes and a conductive silver ink. It's soft, but not as stretchy as human skin. Previously, flexible sensors and flexible displays had been demonstrated, but never at the same time.