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Soft, Electronic Skin Could Enable Prosthetic Users to “Feel”

Jun 1, 2023 |

As technology integrates with prosthetics, a soft electronic skin (e-skin) could be the innovation that enables people with prosthetics to sense pressure and temperature. Rhiannon Williams wrote a story published recently in the MIT Technology Review. 

This e-skin was created by researchers from Stanford University and the hope is that the technology will lead to better prosthetics.  

The thin, stretchable skin adheres to surfaces and contains sensors which measure external temperature and pressure, which it sends to an implanted electrode in the brain. The electrical signals would enable the user to differentiate between soft and firm pressure or hot and cold.  

“Our dream is to make a whole hand where we have multiple sensors that can sense pressure, strain, temperature, and vibration,” said Zhenan Bao, a chemical engineering professor at Stanford University, who worked on the project. 

Although it has not yet been integrated with a prosthesis, this seems to be a major application on the horizon to improve the experience for users.