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Researchers have made a robotic skin that can heal itself

12 February 2018

The use of polyimine allows the e-skin to be fully recyclable - something its creators note is important in the context of the millions of tonnes of electronic waste generated every year. Researchers gave more details regarding the new material in a study which they published on Friday in the journal Science Advances. The technology mimics the mechanical properties and functions of human skin, such as measuring temperature, pressure and vibration, Quartz reports.

One of the e-skin's distinct features is a unique polymer known as polyimine that has been laced with silver nanoparticles.

There are a number of different types and sizes of wearable e-skins are now being developed in labs around the world as researchers recognize their value in diverse medical, scientific and engineering fields.

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Xiao expressed, "What is special here is that the compound holding of polyimide we utilize permits the e-skin to be both self-mending and completely recyclable at room temperature".

"While the new procedure isn't so sensational, the recuperating of a cut or broken e-skin, including the sensors, is finished by utilizing a blend of three monetarily accessible mixes in ethanol". If the e-skin is broken beyond fix, it can just be soaked in a solution that "liquefies" it so that the materials can be reused to make new e-skin.

"If you think about what real skin can do, real skin can prevent people getting burned [and] can prevent people getting hurt", Wei Zhang, a chemistry professor at Boulder and co-author of the study, told Newsweek.

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The e-skin consists of three commercially available compounds that are mixed together in matrix and intertwined with silver nanoparticles.

The idea for e-skin has been around since 2011, but this is the first version that can be reused, reducing waste and lessening manufacturing costs. When the baby is sick, the robot can just use a finger to touch the surface...it can tell what the temperature of the baby is. "The thought is to attempt and copy natural skin with e-skin that has wanted capacities". Imagine a prosthetic arm or leg wrapped in the electronic skin, allowing its wearer to respond to temperature and pressure changes. The material was composed of synthetic rubber and plastic and was thinner than a piece of paper. Previously, flexible sensors and flexible displays had been demonstrated, but never at the same time. Although not electronic, this microfluidic skin can enable electronic skin to have improved skin grip with slight sweating, similar to how human palm and finger tips expel small amounts of eccrine sweat during gripping.

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Researchers have made a robotic skin that can heal itself