Someya's latest material


Skin is the largest organ in your body. covering more than two square meters. It is also one of the most important and most versatile; it is the first line of defense that we have in immunity, and contains an enormous amount of nerve endings and receptors that help us interact with the outside world; additionally it stretches and regenerates in order to accommodate our every movement. Whether we are responding to temperature, pressure, or a painful stimuli, it is our skin that sends signal to our brain to induce an appropriate response. Without it we are completely vulnerable. Having experience working in a burn unit and seeing the horrible effects of third and fourth degree burns that permanently damage our skin, these are awful injuries that leave someone with deformities, infections, and limited movement.

In the world of robotics, as devices become more lifelike and prosthetics advance for limb replacement, they will also require parallel form and function of human features.

All of this is why, it is so very exciting that at the University of Tokyo, Takao Someya’s lab has been developing an e-skin. This thin, flexible material has been years in the making, containing electronic sensors on a sheet of material that is one tenth as thick as a sheet of plastic wrap. The sensors include both temperature and pressure sensors which all used in the thin interface to conduct signals based on what they sense, just as we are able to do with our own skin. Additionally the material is also able to stretch and conform to varied movements without being damaged. This is all still in the development stage, and not for use outside of the lab just yet, but will be an amazing addition to the growing field of bionics once it is marketed and available for use in both the healthcare and technology fields.

Watch the video below for more information: