STATES CHRONICLE – Specialists used graphene to create a very sensitive electronic skin by implementing the use of solar energy, going one step further towards the development of prosthetic limbs with sensitive skin. Scientists around the globe are working together to produce flexible synthetic skin which could feel by imitating human skin’s sensory receptors.
Prosthetic limbs could be improved through this electronic skin technology
Researchers at the University of Glasgow’s School of Engineering have surpassed the idea that this project is a challenge and started developing a method to use graphene to generate electricity through solar power. Graphene is a ultra-thin version of carbon. This material is only one atom thick, but it is extremely flexible and strong, being transparent and electrically conductive.
On March 23, scientists stated that this material is ideal for absorbing the energy of the sun to generate electricity. Some technologically advanced prosthetic hands are already able to reproduce several mechanical properties commonly characterizing human limbs. These prosthetic hands were also equipped with a sense of touch similar to the one with which people are endowed, making them extremely useful for those who have amputated limbs.
The thin skin covering the prosthesis would help amputee feel again
Electronic skin which is sensitive to touching could be implemented in the development of robots to improve their performance and making them more human-like. This type of skin could also help these machines detect possible dangers whenever they interact with humans. Ravinder Dahiya together with his team of researchers explained how they managed to use electricity-generating cells and implemented them into electronic skin.
Their study was published in the Advanced Functional Materials magazine. Dahiya stated that their primary purpose now is to implement the same technology to power the mechanisms which are needed to control the prosthetic hand. This new study could help scientists design and develop an energy-independent prosthetic limb.
People who have amputates limbs may soon benefit from this advanced technology, finally having a sense of touch, feeling the texture and the temperature of materials due to this electronic skin which will be implemented into prosthetic limbs shortly. This “solar-powered skin” uses an energy-saving technology. Dahiya claims that when the user is outside on a sunny day, they will not need a battery re-charge.
This smart technology could help many people in need, with amputated limbs, feel again, being more confident and optimistic.
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