Electronic skins can already respond to touch, but they are not as good at responding to stings and burns that cause pain. This is a problem for prostheses and robots that need human-like answers. However, they may be more sensitive in the future. RMIT University researchers have developed an artificial skin (via SciTechDaily) which responds to pain much as humans do. It will provide “almost instantaneous” feedback if pressures and temperatures hit levels that would cause someone to yelp.
The portable prototype is made of stretchable, extremely thin electronics (oxides and biocompatible silicone) with pressure detection, temperature-reactive coatings and brain-like memory cells. It is subtle enough to communicate the difference between gently pointing at you with a tap and a painful sting, said researcher Md Ataur Rahman. The design mimics neurons, neural pathways and receptors that control human senses.