New e-skin distinguishes temperature from irritants and detects movement

Human skin has various tactile receptors that detect hot or cold temperatures, and

also other tactile sensations - pinching,twisting or pushing. Thanks to these receptors, people distinguish between mechanical stimuli and temperature. Conventional electronic skin, made so far, is imperfect due to frequent errors in temperature measurement if mechanical influences were applied to it.

Human skin is easily stretched, but notbreaks down - it is full of electrolytes. Using them, scientists have created a special sensor. Based on a coating of ionic conductors with electrolytes, engineers have created a multifunctional artificial receptor that can simultaneously measure tactile sensations and temperature.

Image recognition when pressing on ion-electronic skin. The temperature change and the direction of force in the contact part are accurately recognized. Image: POSTECH

This artificial receptor with a simple structureelectrode-electrolyte-electrode has great potential for commercialization and accurately measures the temperature of an object, as well as the direction or profile of deformation under external influences such as compression, stretching and twisting.

It is expected that multimodal ion-electronicskin sensitive to temperatures and mechanical influences will be used to create wearable temperature sensors or humanoid robots-humanoids.

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