Electronic Skin Market Advances for Strong Future

  • Analysis
  • 07-December-2020

A material mimicking human skin in terms of sensitivity, stretchability, and strength could be extremely useful in collecting biological data. E-skin, or electronic skin, is all set to play an important part in next-generation personalized medicine, artificial intelligence, prosthetics, and soft robotics.

The ideal e-skin carries the potentiality to mimic several natural functions of human skin, including touch, temperature, and sensing, in real-time and accurately as well. However, the process of making such flexible electronics that carry the capacity to perform extremely delicate tasks while enduring the bumps and scrapes of everyday life can prove to be quite challenging, and every material involved in the process must be engineered carefully.

The making procedure of most of the e-skins is initiated by layering the sensor, which is an active nanomaterial, on a stretchy surface that gets attached to human skin. However, in case the connection between the layers is too strong, there exists limited flexibility, making it more likely to break the circuit. Whereas, in the case of a weak connection between the layers, the sensitivity and durability of the material are reduced.

The prospects of skin electronics have been shifting at a remarkable pace, thereby accelerating the growth of the Electron Skin Industry at a tremendous rate. The arrival of 2-D sensors has stimulated the efforts to incorporate these mechanically robust, atomically thin materials into durable, functional artificial skins.

A research team led by Jie Shen and Cai has successfully created a functional e-skin by using a hydrogel. Along with that, silica nanoparticles as a flexible and strong substrate. They have also used 2-D titanium carbide MEXene, functioning as the sensing layer, and all of these are bound together with conductive nanowires.

Hydrogels account for approximately 70 percent water, which ultimately makes them extremely compatible with human skin tissues. The researchers successfully create conductive paths to the sensor layer that remain intact even after stretching the material to 28 times its normal size. It is done with the process of pre-stretching the hydrogel in almost all directions, putting in a layer of nanowires, and then carefully controlling its process of release.

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