Smart prosthetic limbs enable amputees to be more independent. However, these smart prosthetics still lack the ability to feel. A prosthetic hand can hold a cup, but it can’t tell if it is steaming hot or lukewarm.
Now a team of scientists from South Korea and the U.S have developed a new kind of artificial skin. This artificial skin will give people with prosthetic limbs the sense of touch.
This artificial skin is composed of a transparent and flexible silicone material known as Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), which is embedded with stretchable silicon nanoribbons. These nanoribbons are capable of generating electricity when they are stretched or compressed, thus resulting in a source of tactile feedback.
Researchers hope that once the artificial skin clears lab testing on animals, the product will help amputees have a restored sense of touch, especially in their hands.