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Bionic Skin, Science Fiction or Real?
May 26, 2016
As the intersection of medicine and technology continues to blur the line between science fiction and real world science, a recent innovation in Tokyo has stirred excitement among medical professionals around the world. Takao Someya, a scientist at the University of Tokyo, has created a bionic skin, or an e-skin, that could revolutionize the field of medicine. Capable of equipping humans with unprecedented levels of sensitivity when it comes to touch, Someya thinks that this new skin could help doctors feel a tiny tumor otherwise undetectable without a scan or surgery.
Ideally, the Japanese scientist wants to see his invention worn in the form of a glove, tattooed onto the body, or even sewn into our clothes, all of which could help humans monitor vital signs or predict illnesses like never before. Ambitiously, Someya says that this could happen within the next few years.
While Someya’s original vision for the bionic skin involved robots rather than humans, his concept has evolved to include an even broader use: “I imagined this futuristic scene where a robot shaking hands with someone could detect their emotion — like passion, or sorrow,” Someya told CNN. But 15 years later, he’s managed to do much more.
In order to mimic human skin, which is inundated by some two million pain receptors, the electrical engineering professor knew he’d have his work cut out for him. So, as CNN reports, Someya connected “sensors, with the ability to detect pressure and temperatures between 30 degrees C to 80 degrees C (86 degrees F to 176 degrees F), with organic semiconductors that were naturally soft and biocompatible — the ideal material for e-skin.” Then, these materials were placed on a “‘active matrix’ grid system traditionally used in LCD displays, enabling each sensor to have an address it could be located at on the grid.” And by placing these sensors on plastic film rather than a rigid surface, Someya created a super-thin, flexible “skin” of his own.
Read More & See Video – Source: Japanese Professor Creates Bionic Skin | Digital Trends