Artificial Skin Has Realistic Sense of Touch and Instantly Adapts to Wearer

Scientists at EPFL have created a flexible artificial skin that's made of silicone and electrodes. The skin’s soft sensors and actuators enable it to conform to the precise shape of a wearer’s fingertip or wrist, for example, and provide haptic feedback in the form of pressure and vibration. Strain sensors continuously measure the skin’s deformation so that the haptic feedback can be adjusted in real time to produce a realistic sense of touch. The artificial skin contains soft pneumatic actuators that form a membrane layer which can be inflated by pumping air into it, and the skin vibrates when the membrane layer is inflated and deflated rapidly. This artificial skin technology enhances human-computer and human-robot interfaces for applications like medical rehabilitation and virtual reality.