Electronic skin reacts to pain like human skin
Electronic skin reacts to pain like human skin

Researchers have developed a synthetic electronic skin that can respond to pain just like real skin, paving the way for better repair techniques, smarter robots, and non-invasive alternatives to skin grafts.

The model device developed by the team at RMIT University (RMIT) in Melbourne, Australia, could electronically reproduce pain in human skin.

The device mimics the nearly instantaneous response of the human body and can respond to the sensation of pain at the same speed as the light that transmits nerve signals to the brain.

Lead researcher Professor Madhu Baskaran said: The prototype for pain detection is a big step forward towards the next generation of biomedical technology and smart robots.

He added, "The skin is the largest sensory organ in the body, and its complex functions send a quick warning signal when we feel pain. We always feel something on the skin, but our response to pain only begins at a certain point. For example, when we touch something very hot or very sharp. ".

Researchers stated that there is still no electronic technology that can actually simulate human pain. However, when pressure, heat or cold reaches the pain threshold, the artificial skin reacts immediately.

He said: This is an important step in the future development of the advanced feedback system we need to provide smart prostheses and smart robots.

In addition to a prototype pain sensor, the research team has also developed devices that use scalable electronic devices that can sense and respond to changes in temperature and pressure.

"The prototype design aims to show the key characteristics of skin recognition capabilities in electronic form," said Pascaran.

With further development, artificial skin and stretches may also become the future option for non-surgical skin grafts as traditional methods are not applicable or ineffective.

"We need to develop further to integrate the technology into biomedical applications, but the spectrum of basic knowledge - biocompatibility, like skin - does exist," Bhaskaran added.

This new research brings together three former pioneers and patented technologies:
  • Scalable electronic products: a mixture of biocompatible oxides and silicon can provide transparent, thin, and unbreakable electronic products.
  • Temperature sensitive outer layer: the self-adjusting outer layer is 1,000 times the thickness of a human hair and its texture changes according to the temperature.
  • Brain simulation memory: electronic memory cells that simulate how the brain uses long-term memory to retrieve and store past information.
A typical pressure sensor combines a retractable electronic device with a long-term storage unit, the thermal sensor combines the outer layer of temperature and a storage reaction, and the pain sensor combines these three technologies.

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