Next-Generation Artificial Skin Sensing Surface Microbes | Sensors | Hydrogel Polymers | Artificial Intelligence

[Epoch Times, June 13, 2022]After six years of research, Italian scientists have invented an artificial skin that is more sensitive than human skin and can sense even objects as small as microbes get.

Anna Maria Coclite of Graz Technical University in Austria demonstrated a “three-in-one” artificial skin developed by her research group that can sense temperature, humidity, and touch.

The material has as many as 2,000 sensors per square millimeter. Inside each sensor is a hydrogel polymer, which is coated with a piezoelectric zinc oxide material.

“The hydrogel is absorbent and swells under changes in humidity and temperature,” Cocklett said. “The pressure from the swelling is transmitted to the piezoelectric material outside, which responds in the form of an electrical signal.”

The material they made was only 6 microns thick, or 0.006 millimeters. The thickness of the human epidermis is about 0.03 to 2 mm. They could also make the material thinner, Cocklett said.

The smallest object that human skin can feel is about 1 square millimeter, and the touch of this smart skin is a thousand times that of human skin, and even objects as small as microorganisms can be felt.

Cocklett said the material would have important uses in robotics, artificial intelligence devices.

The research was published May 11 in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies. ◇

Responsible editor: Ye Ziwei


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