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Your location: Home > Related Articles > Scientists develop a new type of electronic skin that uses tiny magnetic hair to sense touch

Scientists develop a new type of electronic skin that uses tiny magnetic hair to sense touch

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-01 Click:29

The skin, the largest organ in the human body, plays a crucial role in promoting our sense of touch, but its sensitivity is difficult to replicate on artificial skin. Now, researchers have developed a new type of electronic skin (e-skin) that contains tiny embedded hair that can accurately sense touch and movement direction.

Electronic skin is a thin film material with electronic properties that enables it to perform some functions of natural human skin, such as recording touch, pressure, temperature, and even pain. These artificial skins may be useful for patients who require transplantation after major injuries, or provide more advanced tactile sensation for prosthetics and robots.

In this new study, researchers from the Technical University of Kemnets in Germany and the Institute of Solids and Materials Research (IFW) in Leibniz, Dresden, developed an electronic skin containing a new type of sensor that is particularly sensitive to touch. This breakthrough comes from mimicking an important but overlooked factor in human touch - the tiny hairs within the skin.

Scientists embed tiny magnetic hairs into an elastic material to create their electronic skin. Like natural hair, these artificial hairs have spherical roots located below the surface of the electronic skin, and when the hair on top is touched, they move. Each of these roots is surrounded by a three-dimensional magnetic sensor, allowing for real-time tracking of the exact position of the roots. This allows the entire sensor matrix to not only record the situation where hair is touched, but also the direction of touch on the electronic skin.

The first author of the study, Christian Becker, said, "Our method allows for precise arrangement of functional sensor components in three-dimensional space, which can be mass-produced in parallel manufacturing processes. Such sensor systems are extremely difficult to generate through established microelectronic manufacturing methods."

This study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

The team stated that these magnetic sensors can be easily made into loose pieces. Then, they can fold themselves into 3D boxes to accommodate the hair roots through a process called micro origami.

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