Smart Skin may Transform Medicine, Robotics

Smart Skin

Researchers from Saudi Arabia have produced a new kind of multi-sensor artificial skin. This smart skin is able to sense pressure, temperature, humidity, proximity, pH and air flow just by using typical household items. This smart skin can reciprocate to outermost stimuli and could be used by burn and acid victims, vehicular technology and robotics.

This smart skin is flexible and paper-based. By using paper, aluminum foil, scotch tapes, sticky notes, napkins, sponges and pencil lines which imitate like sensing peripheral, it is covered with a post-it note.

Each sensor is built onto a post-it note base, with the temperature, humidity, and multifunctional pressure sensors then stacked to form the multifunctional paper skin. every layer is partitioned into a 6*6 array of pixels and has 1mm of distance among them so that localized sensor measurements could be concluded.

  • The temperature sensor is drawn over paper directly, by using a conductive pen. The main objective is, to change the resistance of conductive traces as temperature varies because of increase in vibrations of the lattice structure of the lattice structure of the silver in conductive ink.
  • The Humidity sensor works on capacitive principles. The paper itself is used as a dielectric material, with electrodes.
  • A pressure sensor is a multifunctional unit, enabling detection of force, airflow, and adjacency in a single sensor unit. With an air gap as a dielectric medium, it uses a capacitive mechanism of operation. Proximity identification is also done by using pressure sensors. It can detect a nearby conductive object at distances of 13cm.
  • As a pH sensor, paper skin also establishes to have potential. The pH sensor performs through measuring out the resistance changes in HB pencil marks on the paper (graphite is decreased by alkaline solution and oxidized by acids.)

The temperature sensing performance of paper skin is of equivalent level to that of current, cutting-edge research into artificial skin systems.

Being made of recyclable material, this smart skin has various functions in a non-expensive and eco-friendly way.

Professor Muhammad Mustufa Hussain, the Senior author of the research, said, “Democratization of electronics will be key in future for its continued growth.”

He continued, the “In that regard, a skin type sensory scaffold made by recyclable material only establishes the power of human fantasy.”

Then he said, “This is the first time a unique platform represents multi-sensory functionalities next to that of natural skin. Furthermore, they are being read or monitored together like our own skin.”