Researchers at University of California, Berkeley, United States have unveiled a "sensor network on flexible plastic." Dubbed as an electronic skin or e-skin, it responds to touch by lighting up. As the pressure increases, so does the intensity of the emitted light
The researchers are led by Professor Ali Javey, UC Berkeley associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences. The sensor network of the e-skin is based on the professor's earlier work, which dealt with using "semiconductor nanowire transistors layered on top of thin rubber sheets."
The research team felt that the e-skin could be used to manufacture wallpapers that can function as touch-enabled large displays. It can also be used in vehicular dashboards where drivers would be able to control in-vehicle electronic components with their touch and gestures. Another member of the team, Dr. Chuan Wang envisioned the e-skin as a health monitor applied to a patient's skin, for a less obtrusive way of monitoring the patient's vital health statistics.
The team unveiled a fully fabricated e-skin that measured 16- by 16-pixel, and it lit up when touched. The main breakthrough of their work is the ability of the embedded sensors to respond to touch and its intensity. Furthermore, the e-skin is flexible, making it suitable for lamination on surfaces for easy application. The researchers also mentioned the embedded electronics system of the e-skin, can be easily manufactured with existing semi-conductor equipment. As a result, the commercial production can be shortened considerably.
For more information on the team's research, do visit this link.