The human skin contains sensitive nerve cells that determine the pressure, temperature and other sensations that allow tactile interaction with the environment. To help robots and prosthetic devices achieve these abilities, scientists are trying to develop electronic skins. Now researchers report a new method ACS Business Applications and Interfaces which creates a very heavy, stretchable electronic skin that can be used for various human-machine interactions.
Many applications can use electronic skin, including prosthetics, wearable health monitors, robotics and virtual reality. The main task is to transfer ultralitic electrical circuits to complex 3D surfaces, and then the electronics must be compressible and stretchy enough to allow them to move. Some researchers have developed flexible "electronic tattoos" for this purpose, but their production is usually slow, expensive and requires clean-room manufacturing methods, such as photolithography. Mahmoud Tavakoli, Karmel Majidi and colleagues wanted to develop a quick, simple and inexpensive method for creating thin film systems with integrated microelectronics.
In the new approach, researchers write a chain template on a portable tattoo paper page with a regular laser printer. They then covered the template with a silver post that only affixed to the toner ink. At the top of the silver paste, the team debuted gallium-indium alloy metal alloy, which increased the electrical conductivity and elasticity of the circuit. Finally, they added external electronics, such as chips, with a leading "glue" made of vertically aligned magnetic particles embedded in a polyvinyl alcohol jelly. The researchers transmitted electronic tattoos to various objects and showed several uses of the new method, such as robotic prosthetic arm management, monitoring of human skeletal muscle activity and the inclusion of proximity sensors in the hand-3D model.
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Materials provided American Chemical Society. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.