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Self-Repairing Synthetic Skin Could Be Used in Future Prosthetics

    Firm, elastic, and highly sensitive skin that can repair itself up to 5,000 times has been developed and could be used in future prosthetics. Researchers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia have developed the electronic skin or e-skin. The findings have been published in the Science Advances journal.

     This synthetic skin that can repair itself up to 5000 times can be used in future prosthetics.

    Researchers say that the electronic skin could be used in future prosthetics and monitor a person’s health. This prototype is the latest iteration of previous attempts that have fallen short of matching the ideal e-skin.

    This synthetic skin can sense objects from up to eight inches away, react to stimuli in under one-tenth of a second, and repair itself more than 5,000 times, mimicking the elasticity and rapid recovery of human skin. The e-skin is also highly sensitive that it can distinguish handwriting written on its surface.

    According to the study’s author, Dr. Yichen Cai, the ideal e-skin should mimic human skin functions, including sensing touch and temperature in real-time. 

    What made this iteration better than the previous ones is the use of hydrogel reinforced with silica nanoparticles to create the skin’s stretchy surface. This is combined with a 2D titanium carbide MXene sensor using highly conductive nanowires. 

    This worked because hydrogels are composed of more than 70% water, which makes them compatible with human skin tissues. 

    Scientists say that this invention could imbue prosthetics with the ability to monitor biological information, including changes in blood pressure. The data could then be shared and stored on the cloud via WiFi. 

    Eventually, the e-skin could be used to measure the structural health of aircraft, buildings, and furniture. The possibilities seem to be endless. 

    What do you think of this recent development?