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
via Google News
The Latest on: E-skin
- Connecting humans and machines with e-skin on December 16, 2018 at 8:07 am
Human skin is a sensitive organ that allows us to differentiate different pressures of touch and temperature. Getting a robot to replicate that has proved challenging. A new breakthrough in electronic ... […]
- Sensitive e-skin embedded with nanowires on December 10, 2018 at 1:06 am
When an animal stretches a limb, a network of nerves and sensors within the skin provides feedback that help it orient the limb in space and interact with its surroundings. Embedding a network of stra... […]
- Flexible e-skin for robots, prosthetics developed on November 28, 2018 at 11:22 pm
WASHINGTON: Scientists have developed an ultrathin, stretchable electronic skin that could help robots and prosthetic devices to 'feel' and better interact with the environment and humans. Human skin ... […]
- Electronic skin points the way north on November 16, 2018 at 12:31 pm
Researchers have developed an electronic skin (e-skin) with magnetosensitive capabilities, sensitive enough to detect and digitize body motion in the Earth's magnetic field. As this e-skin is extremel... […]
- This e-skin is not only self-healing, it’s totally recyclable too on November 10, 2018 at 4:00 pm
Our bionic future may not be so far away after all. Researchers have recently created an electronic skin, or e-skin, that is self-healing and totally recyclable. As described in the journal Science Ad... […]
- Flexible, sensor-packed e-skin can be healed when damaged and recycled when no longer needed on February 12, 2018 at 5:57 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 uni... […]
- Self-healing electronic skin will help robots have a sense of touch like humans on February 11, 2018 at 10:33 am
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder say they’ve developed the first fully rehealable and recyclable electronic skin, or e-skin. The technology mimics the functions and mechanical propert... […]
- New Electronic Skin Allows You to Manipulate Virtual Objects on January 21, 2018 at 1:33 pm
A newly developed technology could revolutionize the future of virtual reality (VR). The innovative electronic skin, known as an e-skin, is a soft, bendable, and wearable tech that allows the user to ... […]
- E-Skin Lets You Manipulate Objects in Real and Virtual Worlds on January 19, 2018 at 11:08 am
When it comes to virtual reality systems, sensors that “fit like a glove” aren’t good enough anymore. Now, we want such sensors to fit more like skin. That’s what researchers have accomplished in a pa... […]
via Bing News