Scientists and engineers around the world are working hard to enhance biomedicine.
"In that case, you would integrate e-skin on the robot fingers that can feel the pressure of the baby".
A team of researchers from the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder have recently invented a novel kind of malleable, self-healing and exhaustively recyclable "electronic skin". "The thought is to attempt and copy natural skin with e-skin that has wanted capacities".
Known as e-skin, the thin and translucent material mimics some of the functions and mechanical properties of a real human skin.
"This has quite broad applications, in a sense, to enable sensation of otherwise passive systems", Jianliang Xiao told Newsweek.
And interestingly, the electronic skin is completely recyclable, or at least it's created to be once it's complete. It can sense pressure on its own. For example, a prosthetic arm or leg with a layer of electronic skin can allow the wearer to respond to temperature and pressure changes, like when more pressure is needed to touch something.
The electronic skin also has potential applications in the field of robotics.
Xiao said in a statement that, "Sensing is critical because when human beings interact with robots; we want to make sure that robots don't hurt people".
He however added that in the future, the tech could be used to give robots "skin" much like Arnold Schwarzenegger's iconic character, reports Daily Express. The temperature feature of the skin would also help robots detect if babies have a fever. The polyimine has been laced with silver nanoparticles to provide better mechanical strength, chemical stability and electrical conductivity.
Another remarkable property of the electronic skin is its ability to heal itself albeit the process involved is not as remarkable as that seen in the robots featured in the movie Terminator.
By slightly heating the electronic skin, it can be shaped to comfortably fit the contours of a human limb or irregular surfaces like a robotic hand by applying a little pressure. According to the researchers, this feature is what makes e-skin unique.
"E-skin can basically mimic those [preventative] functions".
E-skin can be recycled if the polymers get soaked in a solution which is used to degrade the polymers down and split the silver nanoparticles.