Engineers with the Bao Research Group at Stanford University are developing plastic skin with built-in sensors that can measure pressure digitally. The technology works in a way that’s similar to how an iPhone recognises the touch of a finger, and will hopefully return a sense of touch to burn victims and people living with prosthetic limbs.
Dr. Zhenan Bao, a professor of engineering at Stanford University, is the leader of the project, which has spanned several years.
Her team’s most recent development was implementing a sensor into the artificial skin that mimics receptors in human skin. Those sensors gather change-in-pressure data the engineers hope will someday be sent to the brain. However, Bao said there’s still a lot of work to be done, as “That will require a huge amount of data-processing power.”
To measure touch more accurately, she plans to shrink the size of the sensor so that it can process additional pressure points, similar to the millions or sensory receptors of human skin.
Bao and her team are not wasting any time. While the skin is still years from hitting the market, the engineers want to implement the sensor in a new testing phase ASAP.
“We haven’t connected the sensor to a live animal or human, so that’s what we want to do next,” Bao told INSIDER.
Story and editing by Adam Banicki
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