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Home Industry News ‘E-Skin’ development at University of Colorado Boulder could improve prosthetics

‘E-Skin’ development at University of Colorado Boulder could improve prosthetics

12th February 2018

A new kind of synthetic skin developed at the University of Colorado Boulder could help make prosthetics more user-friendly. 

Researchers have developed Electronic skin, or e-skin, which is a translucent material that can emulate a number of the properties and characteristics of real human skin.

A paper on the e-skin, published in the journal Science Advances, has outlined how the material contains silver nanoparticles to improve strength, flexibility and conductivity.

Thanks to a number of temperature and pressure sensors, the 'skin' can effectively feel touch, heat and cold.

More dramatically – thanks to a polymer called polyimine – the e-skin can emulate the real thing by healing itself, not by blood-clotting but by an automatic chemical process where where three polymer compounds found in ethanol degrade into olimers and in doing so seal any punctures. 

The material is soaked in a recycling solution to trigger this reaction when damage occurs.

Commenting on this process, assistant professor Jianliang Xiao, the lead researcher on the project at Boulder, said: "What is unique here is that the chemical bonding of polyimine we use allows the e-skin to be both self-healing and fully recyclable at room temperature."

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