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New flexible electronic skin aids human-machine interactions

IANS  |  New York 

Scientists have created a fast and inexpensive new method to develop an that can aid robots and to attain abilities akin to human skin that can detect pressure, temperature and other sensations that allow tactile interactions with the environment.

The new method, developed by researchers from the in the US and Portugal's University of Coimbra, can create an ultrathin, stretchable electronic skin, which could be used for a variety of human-machine interactions, by producing thin-film circuits with integrated microelectronics.

These electronic skins could be used for many applications, including prosthetic devices, wearable health monitors, robotics and as well as a variety of human-machine interactions.

A major challenge is transferring ultrathin electrical circuits onto complex 3D surfaces and then having the be bendable and stretchable enough to allow movement.

But in the new approach reported in the journal and Interfaces, the team patterned a circuit template onto a sheet of transfer tattoo paper with an ordinary desktop

They then coated the template with silver paste, which adhered only to the printed toner ink.

On top of the silver paste, the team deposited a that increased the electrical conductivity and flexibility of the circuit.

Finally, they added such as microchips with a conductive "glue" made of vertically aligned magnetic particles embedded in a polyvinyl alcohol gel.

The team then transferred the electronic tattoo to various objects and demonstrated several applications of the new method, such as controlling a prosthetic arm, monitoring human skeletal muscle activity and incorporating proximity sensors into a 3D model of a hand.

Previously, some scientists developed flexible "electronic tattoos" for this purpose but their production is typically slow, expensive and requires clean-room fabrication methods such as

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 29 2018. 14:40 IST
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