Scientists develop a self-powered smart skin

self-powered smart skin
Optical image of the transparent, flexible, and lightweight smart skin. The smart skin with a honey bee landing on it will not deform the peony. © American Chemical Society

Smart synthetic skins may allow robots to touch and sense what’s around them. However, a big challenge is how to keep them powered up and highly sensitive at a low cost.

In a recent study, researchers develop a self-powered analogue smart skin for detecting contact location and velocity of the object. The finding is published in ACS Nano.

Researchers from Peking University in China conducted the study. They develop the new smart skin based on a single-electrode contact electrification effect and planar electrostatic induction.

Using an analogue localizing method, the resolution of this two-dimensional smart skin can be achieved at 1.9 mm with only four terminals. This notably decreases the terminal number of smart skins.

The sensitivity of this smart skin is remarkable, which can even perceive the perturbation of a honeybee.

In addition, this smart skin has a triboelectric mechanism, and it does not require extra power supply. Therefore, it solves the problems of batteries and connecting wires for smart skins.

Finally, with micro-structured poly films and silver nanowire electrodes, it can be covered on the skin with transparency, flexibility, and high sensitivity.

Researchers suggest that this new smart skin has strongly improved resolution and energy conservation, and the progress presents unprecedented opportunities for artificial intelligence.

Citation: Mayue Shi, et al. (2016). Self-Powered Analogue Smart Skin. ACS Nano, 10: 4083-4091. DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.5b07074.
Figure legend: This image is credited to Mayue Shi et al. © American Chemical Society.