Scientists are working on developing electronic skin for human-machine interactions such as prosthetic devices, robotics, wearable health monitors, and virtual reality, reported by Science Daily and sourced by the American Chemical Society.
Electronic skins would allow sensations similar to nerves in the human body to be felt, such as pressure and temperature changes.
An ultra thin, stretchable form of electronic skin was in a recent report in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces by researchers. A challenge scientists are finding is keeping the flexibility for movement while putting an ultra thin electrical circuit onto a complex 3D surface.
Image courtesy of American Chemical Society
Some development involved "electronic tattoos" but the cost and production has made it unfavorable.
Researchers Mahmoud Tavakoli, Carmel Majidi and their colleagues have created a new method where they put a circuit template onto transfer tattoo paper with a regular laser printer, and then coat the template printed in toner ink with silver paste.
A gallium-indium liquid metal alloy then goes on top of the paste to increase flexibility and electrical conductivity.
Microchips are then added with a unique type of glue made from, "vertically aligned magnetic particles embedded in a polyvinyl alcohol gel" and transferred to various devices for testing.
The idea is similar to how the VR haptic suit worked in the video game sci-fi movie, Ready Player One that released last spring. To read what we thought of Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the novel, check out IGN's review of the reference-filled alternate-reality world.