Professor Zhenan Bao and his team at Stanford have created an artificial skin that sends pressure sensory signals directly to your brain. The “skin” is comprised of two plastic layers; the top layer detects the pressure sensation, while the bottom later gathers the data from the top and sends it to the nerve cells as electric signals. Bao shares that this is the first time a “flexible, skin-like” material was able to work in this way, with the team striving for the artificial skin to work just like actual human skin.
Bao initially designed the artificial skin to use for prosthetic limbs so that it could “eventually be able to heal, signal pain, and detect touch and temperature.” Although the research is in its early stages, this is a huge step as it is to make fully sensory artificial skin a reality. Additionally, the researchers plan to take on a different approach in stimulating human nerves with electric pulses in the future. The current model only has two layers for now, but the team believes that it will add more along the way.