Flexible Plastic Skin Could Be Used on Touch-Sensitive Robots
A team of scientists of the University of California Berkeley has created a flexible plastic skin that could be used to make touch-sensitive robots. The electronic skin, dubbed ‘e-skin’ has an inbuilt sensor network that lights up when touched. The stronger the pressure, the brighter the light.
Ali Javey, Associate Professor at the university and leader of the research team, says that the e-skin can be wrapped around different objects. Javey adds that it is a system rather than a device. The device has a broader application than robotics; it could be used for wallpapers that also function as touchscreen displays, controllable dashboards in cars, and bandages as health monitors, says the study’s co-lead author Chuan Wang.
The e-skin is made from polymer, silicon, and electronic components. Javey says the technology will be easy and relatively inexpensive to commercialise.
Wang says it is the interactivity of the e-skin sensor system that makes it something new as an invention. The flexibility of the skin means it can be applied to many different surfaces. The team is now focusing their efforts on making the e-skin responsive to temperature and light.