A Recyclable Self-Healing Electronic Skin Has Been Developed

Scientists developed electronic skin of the Terminator style and repair itself 1022018

The electronic skin - or e-skin - features a new type of covalently bonded dynamic network polymer, known as polyimine.

"For robotics, it might not be very necessary to integrate e-skins with industrial robots to provide sensing capabilities at this point".

Consisting of a translucent thin band, the electronic skin (abbreviated E-skin) tries to mimic numerous human skin's properties and functionalities and can be used in a wide range of applications.

Originally created by a team of scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder, the electronic skin heals itself by sensing physical changes like pressure, humidity, temperature, and air flow.

"What is unique here is that the chemical bonding of polyimine we use allows the e-skin to be both self-healing and fully recyclable at room temperature", said Assistant Professor Jianliang Xiao of the University of Colorado, who is also the lead author of the study. The same concept can be applied to prosthetics: When an artificial limb is wrapped in e-skin, it can theoretically sense when something is too hot or too cold, or if more or less pressure needs to be exerted on an object. "The thought is to attempt and copy natural skin with e-skin that has wanted capacities". Those are the electronic devices that we use, although they don't work the same as our natural skin does. So, one can say that the latest e-skin has, in many terms, been able to mimic the mechanical and functional properties of human skin.

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"Sensing is critical because when human beings interact with robots, we want to make sure that robots don't hurt people", Xiao told Newsweek.

"Imagine a robot that can gently hold a baby, touch him/her like the parents do, and feel the temperature increase if the baby gets a fever", he adds. The polyimine has been laced with silver nanoparticles to provide better mechanical strength, chemical stability and electrical conductivity.

As mentioned earlier, the e-skin and embedded sensors can be healed in the event of a cut, with the help of terephthalaldehyde, diethylenetriamine, tris (2-aminoethyl) amine and silver nanoparticles mixed in ethanol and the application of heat pressure.

"Given the millions of tonnes of electronic waste generated worldwide every year, the recyclability of our e-skin makes good economic and environmental sense".

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