An artificial smart skin has been created which replicates the sensory process, including feeling strain, pressure, temperature and humidity.
US and Korean scientists say the cyborg skin includes stretchable sensors for nerve stimulation so that electrical signals can be transmitted from the prosthetic to nerves in the body.
Details of the smart prosthetic skin made from silicon nanoribbons is reported this week in the journal Nature Communications.
Despite advances in the understanding of senses, replicating these unique characteristics in artificial skin and prosthetics remains challenging.
Recent efforts to develop smart prosthetics, which use rigid or semi-flexible pressure, strain, and temperature sensors, provide promising routes for sensor-laden bionic systems.
However, there is still a mismatch between conventional electronics in wearable prosthetics and soft biological tissues, which impedes the utility and performance of prosthetics in amputees.
Dae-Hyeong Kim of Seoul National University and colleagues describe a stretchable prosthetic skin equipped with sensor arrays which are tuned to stretch according to the movement of a target skin segment.
The researchers say the design can dramatically enhance the perception capabilities of artificial skin in response to changing external environments.
Electrical stimuli can then be transmitted from the prosthetic skin to the body to stimulate nerves via an ultrathin multi-electrode array.