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Imagine how we can help patients who lost their limbs to regain their touch. Imagine how we can help robots to learn how to work safely with humans. The answer is artificial electronic skin. Our human body is not linear, it is curved and constantly moving. So, the biggest challenge is to make electronic materials that are stretchable to be able to conform with the movement of human bodies. Much like when our finger moves; our skin also moves with it. Here, we design molecules that can slide past each other to accommodate strain. Alternatively, we design molecules that can turn from a coiled conformation into straight lines upon strain. Even better, we also have molecules that can even self-heal or be biodegradable. So now we cannot only make our electronics to be able to help patients with protheses to regain sense of touch, or help robots to learn to be smarter, but also we start to find new applications of these new materials in wearable electronics or neuroimplants.

A SKIN FOR ROBOTS
ZHENAN BAOPROFILE
Stanford University

Imagine how we can help patients who lost their limbs to regain their touch. Or how we can help robots to learn how to work safely with humans. The answer is artificial electronic skin. Professor Zhenan Bao from Stanford University and her group are working on this.

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