CU Boulder researchers have developed a new type of malleable, self-healing and fully recyclable “electronic skin” that has applications ranging from robotics and prosthetic development to better biomedical devices.
Electronic skin, known as e-skin, is a thin, translucent material that can mimic the function and mechanical properties of human skin. A number of different types and sizes of wearable e-skins are now being developed in labs around the world as researchers recognize their value in diverse medical, scientific and engineering fields.
The new CU Boulder e-skin has sensors embedded to measure pressure, temperature, humidity and air flow, said Jianliang Xiao, an assistant professor in CU Boulder’s Department of Mechanical Engineering who is leading the research effort with Wei Zhang, an associate professor in CU Boulder’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as well as a faculty member in the Materials Science and Engineering Program.
The technology has several distinctive properties, including a novel type of covalently bonded dynamic network polymer, known as polyimine that has been laced with silver nanoparticles to provide better mechanical strength, chemical stability and electrical conductivity.
“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 Xiao. “Given the millions of tons of electronic waste generated worldwide every year, the recyclability of our e-skin makes good economic and environmental sense.”
A paper on the subject was published today in the journal Science Advances. Co-authors on the study include Zhanan Zou and Yan Li of mechanical engineering and Chengpu Zhu and Xingfeng Lei of chemistry and biochemistry. The study was funded in part by the National Science Foundation.
Many people are familiar with the movie The Terminator, in which the skin of film’s main villain is “re-healed” just seconds after being shot, beaten or run over, said Zhang. While the new process is not nearly as dramatic, the healing of cut or broken e-skin, including the sensors, is done by using a mix of three commercially available compounds in ethanol, he said.
Another benefit of the new CU Boulder e-skin is that it can be easily conformed to curved surfaces like human arms and robotic hands by applying moderate heat and pressure to it without introducing excessive stresses.
“Let’s say you wanted a robot to take care of a baby,” said Zhang. “In that case you would integrate e-skin on the robot fingers that can feel the pressure of the baby. The idea is to try and mimic biological skin with e-skin that has desired functions.”
To recycle the skin, the device is soaked into recycling solution, making the polymers degrade into oligomers (polymers with polymerization degree usually below 10) and monomers (small molecules that can be joined together into polymers) that are soluble in ethanol. The silver nanoparticles sink to the bottom of the solution.
“The recycled solution and nanoparticles can then be used to make new, functional e-skin,” said Xiao.
The Latest on: E-skin
- Robots Will Soon Be Able To ‘Feel’ With Self-Healing E-Skin on February 24, 2018 at 7:07 am
“I’m a cybernetic organism. Living tissue over a metal endoskeleton.” Scientists hellbent on bringing forth our robot overlords are at it again. This time it’s the Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder who have created a new ... […]
- Researchers create an e-skin that shows your heartbeat in real-time on February 22, 2018 at 6:18 pm
Researchers from the University of Tokyo announced last week a new advancement in wearable technology: A highly flexible electronic skin display that shows your health information, allowing you to monitor vitals at a glance. Made from nanomesh, the display ... […]
- New e-skin displays your vital signs on your hand on February 20, 2018 at 7:00 am
A team from the University of Tokyo led by Takao Someya has just announced the development of a new flexible film that can display animated graphics on your skin. Imagine a graphic heart rate monitor on the back of your hand or a display of a diabetic's ... […]
- Self-healing "e-skin" could provide amputees with realistic sensations on February 17, 2018 at 6:00 am
Scientists believe that a newly developed electronic skin that is able to mimic the function and properties of human skin could help to create prosthetics capable of providing sensory feedback. Developed by University of Colorado Boulder scientists, the so ... […]
- Rehealable, Recyclable E-Skin Developed for Robots, Prosthetics on February 14, 2018 at 4:05 pm
Scientists have developed a new type of malleable, self-healing, fully recyclable “electronic skin.” The thin, translucent material simulates functions and mechanical properties of human skin—and then some. While wearable e-skins of all shapes and ... […]
- Scientists make recycling e-skin that heals itself on February 14, 2018 at 1:28 am
Over the years, scientists have successfully created electric skin but they have now gone a step further and have made electric skin that not only heals itself but can also make new skin. The new electric skin can sense touch and temperature and is also ... […]
- Flexible, sensor-packed e-skin can be healed when damaged and recycled when no longer needed on February 13, 2018 at 6:50 am
The electronic skin is described as malleable, can be healed when cut and is fully recyclable(Credit: Jianliang Xiao/University of Colorado Boulder) Coming from a team led by Jianliang Xiao of the university's Mechanical Engineering wing, the new e-skin ... […]
- Scientists Develop Rehealable, Fully Recyclable, and Malleable E-skin on February 13, 2018 at 12:00 am
An international team of scientists from Yunnan University and the University of Colorado Boulder has developed a new type of malleable, self-healing and fully recyclable electronic skin (e-skin). Their work appears in the journal Science Advances. […]
- Rugged e-skin can heal its cuts and scrapes on February 12, 2018 at 11:39 am
Scientists dream of prosthetics and robots with electronic skin that can convey heat and pressure just like the real thing, but there's a big problem getting in the way: the outside world. Bumps and scrapes can damage these sensors, and it's not really ... […]
- Thanks To This New 'E-Skin', Your Future Gadgets & Devices Will Repair Themselves If Damaged on February 11, 2018 at 10:30 am
As technology has progressed, electronic waste has become a problem for humanity. Even as we keep upgrading to better smartphones and laptops, we’re releasing more junk into the world full of toxic chemicals. So researchers are trying to stave off this ... […]
via Google News and Bing News