This Electronic Skin is Capable of Healing Itself

Saturday, 10 February 2018 - 3:52PM
Technology
Gadgets
Medical Tech
Saturday, 10 February 2018 - 3:52PM
This Electronic Skin is Capable of Healing Itself
< >
University of Colorado Boulder
While there are lots of cooler ways to be like the Terminator, one very valid way is to have a layer of prosthetic skin that can repair itself whenever its damaged. And that's currently in the works. 

A team of scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder have created a form of "electronic skin" that's capable of sensing a number of factors like pressure, temperature, humidity and air flow, and most importantly, when it's been damaged. According to a study they published in Science Advances, when it detects a tear, it can add in several commercially available compounds found in ethanol, and this allows the damaged portion to reforge chemical bonds and sew it back up.

Unlike other forms of e-skin, and unlike the Terminator, this isn't designed to be worn by people, but it does have a number of potential uses in robotics and prosthetics. So don't think that this will allow you to instantly heal yourself like Wolverine or Deadpool if you fall off a bike, but a potential robotic device that also fell off the bike could potentially do that.



The material is a thin film made up of several compounds and polymers like polyimine, which have all been laced with silver nanoparticles to give it better strength, stability, and conductivity. Lead researcher Jianliang Xiao describes the e-skin in a press release:

Opening quote
"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. Given the millions of tons of electronic waste generated worldwide every year, the recyclability of our e-skin makes good economic and environmental sense."
Closing quote


And interestingly, the electronic skin is completely recyclable, or at least it's designed to be once it's complete. The goal is to reduce the amount of devices that simply get junked after taking some damage, as they'd now be able to restore themselves without any trouble.

So all in all, this takes some of the best technology found in the Terminator movies, and leaves all the world-threatening technology like liquid metal killers and Skynet. So we'd call that a win.
Science
Science News
Technology
Gadgets
Medical Tech
No