Flexible 'e-skin' can heal itself

Terminator e-skin

The techonology, dubbed "e-skin" has been designed by University of Colorado Boulder researchers in a development reminiscent of science fiction classics.

It is made up of three compounds mixed together to form a matrix of nanoparticles that, when it is cut in two, adding those compounds can allow the e-skin to heal itself by recreating the bonds that holds together the "skin".

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. The most interesting thing about this new e-skin is its ability to heal itself when it is torn apart.

A few sorts and sizes of wearable e-skins are at show being delivered in labs around the globe as analysts distinguished their utilities generally going from mechanical autonomy and prosthetic improvement to better biomedical kinds of gear.

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The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia on some recent technological advances involving e-skin. The researchers are confident that their research will play a major role in fields like robotics and prosthetics as well as smart textiles.

"This particular device. won't produce any waste", says study co-author Jianliang Xiao, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at University of Colorado Boulder. In addition, the e-skin can be soaked in a solution that will turn it into a liquid, so it can be fully recycled for other uses later on rather than discarded after it is used for one goal. This latest e-skin is special because it's recyclable - and that's an important added bonus if you consider that in the U.S. alone, 16 billion pounds of electronic waste was created in 2014. "When the baby is sick, the robot can just use a finger to touch the surface...it can tell what the temperature of the baby is". "We want to make electronics to be environmentally friendly". The silver nanoparticles sink to the base of the arrangement.

"The recycled solution and nanoparticles can then be used to make new, functional e-skin", he said. The whole recycling takes about 30 minutes at 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) or 10 hours at room temperature. Would we be human if we didn't meet the world with our skin-caked nerve endings? The same concept can be applied to prosthetics: When an artificial limb is wrapped in e-skin, it can theoretically sense when something is too hot or too cold, or if more or less pressure needs to be exerted on an object.

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