Science/Tech

Feel The Rain On Your Smart Skin: A Stunning New Development In Prosthetics [VIDEO]

Gerard Black
March 25, 2017 09:19 AM EDT

The University of Glasgow has announced the development of a new type of smart skin that powers itself and is more sensitive than the human skin.

The smart skin is made up of a system of photovoltaic cells that sits on the back of a robotic hand. The hand is loaded with sensors that are conductive and transparent. The transparent layer of silicon and graphene effectively allows the solar cells to harvest any and all available light. The graphene layer is made to just the thickness of a single layer of atoms so it would be ultra-sensitive to touch, CNET reported.

The technology that they have created is a first-of-its-kind. The graphene and silicon layers work much like the touch screen on a smart phone. It allows tactile feedback or that feeling that you get when your fingers or the surface of your skin touch something.

The leader of the research team, Dr. Ravinder Dahiya believes that the smart skin that they developed presents endless possibilities. The system that they have created minimizes or eliminates the need for bulky batteries. It can also lead to the development of lighter prosthetic limbs and robots covered with a skin-like layer, Forbes reported.

The researchers anticipate that in the future, the skin will be used as sensors that will be sewn into outfits to monitor body conditions. The solar-powered sensors can also be used to make healthcare devices that are not dependent on traditional sources of power like batteries. This development is especially helpful to doctors who are serving in regions around the world that do not have electricity.

Dr. Dahiya is now creating a method that can build a cheaper alternative to the prosthetics that are currently available in the market. He hopes to produce the artificial hand via 3D printing which he pegs to cost only around $350. The composition of the new skin makes it both eco-friendly and cheap to produce as well.