An advancement in electronic skin inspired by a jellyfish’s skin that glows with applied pressure may improve prosthetic devices, according to a study published in the October issue of ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. Electronic skins based on a single response mode for pressure sensing decrease in sensitivity with the increase of pressure, but the jellyfish-inspired skin can recognize tactile sensations that range from gentle to damaging. The advancement may more allow prosthetic devices to more closely mimic the range of pressures the human skin can detect.
According to an article published in the November 6 online edition of Digital Journal, one of the study authors, Bin Hu, MD, PhD, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China, drew his inspiration from the Atolla jellyfish—a species of deep sea crown jellyfish—that, when threatened, can bioluminescence and flash to distract and frighten the attacker.
The research team developed the electronic skin with dual-mode response characteristics that can quantify and map the static and dynamic pressures by combining electrical and optical responses to detect levels of pressure. The team embedded two layers of stretchy, poly-dimethysiloxane film with silver nanowires, which produced an electrical signal when subjected to slight pressures. This layer glows with growing intensity as the physical force increases, according to Digital Journal.