A group of Singapore researchers have developed an “electronic skin” capable of recreating a sense of touch, which would allow people with prosthetic limbs to detect objects, as well as feel texture, or even temperature and pain.
The device, called Asynchronous Coded Electronic Skin, is made up of 100 small sensors and is about 1 sq cm (0.16 square inch) in size.
The scientists at the National University of Singapore say it can store and process information faster than the human nervous system, and can as well recognise 20 to 30 different textures.
The research Team Leader, Benjamin Tee said thus;
“When you lose your sense of touch, you essentially become numb… and prosthetic users face that problem.”
“So by recreating an artificial version of the skin, for their prosthetic devices, they can hold a hand and feel the warmth and feel that it is soft, how hard are they holding the hand,”
” Humans need to slide to feel texture, but in this case the skin, with just a single touch, is able to detect textures of different roughness,”
A demonstration showed the device could detect that a squishy stress ball was soft, and determine that a solid plastic ball was hard.
The technology is still in the experimental stage, but there had been “numerous interest”, especially from the medical community, Tee added.