How Technology is Becoming More and More Sensitive

Margherita Olivo
November 6th 2015

Over the past decade scientists have tried to get technology surfaces to be as sensitive as our skin, especially as our fingertips. Human tact is a very sophisticate interface between us and the external world. It is incredibly sensitive and allows us to immediately store information about the reality that surrounds us on different levels, such as pressure, temperature and texture. Researchers in Korea are now experimenting a compress electronic skin able to multitasks, like the human one, feeling temperature, pressure and sound (sound is air pressure, after all), all at once.

These electronic fingertips are ridged, as ours, and are almost as sensitive, being able to detect the slightest variations of textures and temperatures.

The main problem previously faced by other scientists was the multitasking. This issue was solved by the Koreans by using specific materials, a combination of polymer and grapheme oxide. Thanks to it, this artificial skin can function with a precision never achieved before.

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The advantages brought by this new technology can be various, but the medical applications are evident. This system could in particular help robots in hospitals to perform better surgeries. John Rogers is a researcher at the University of Illinois and he is currently working on temporary tattoo-like electronics able to collect health data.

“We’re at a very nascent stage” Benjamin Tee, e-skin researcher at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering in Singapore, says “It’s basically a Wild West for electronic skin right now”.

This very new surface will surely be a starting point for a more sensitive appliances in the near future, changing the way in which humans interact with technology.

Source: Wired. Images: Shutterstock, UNIST

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