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Touch and feel skin-like gadgets soon

Touch and feel skin-like gadgets soon

Artificial skin sensors could be the future of wearable and stretchable electronics, and keeping that in mind, researchers at University of Toronto have developed a super-stretchy, transparent and self-powering sensor that records the complex sensations of human skin.

Dubbed artificial ionic skin - or AISkin for short - the innovative properties of the sensor could lead to future advancements in wearable electronics, personal health care and robotics. "Since it's hydrogel, it's inexpensive and biocompatible - you can put it on the skin without any toxic effects. It's also very adhesive, and it doesn't fall off, so there are so many avenues for this material," said Professor Xinyu Liu, whose lab is focused on the emerging areas of ionic skin and soft robotics.

AISkin is also uniquely tough and stretchable. "Our human skin can stretch about 50 per cent, but our AISkin can stretch up to 400 per cent of its length without breaking," said Binbin Ying, a visiting PhD candidate from McGill University who's leading the project in Liu's lab. The adhesive 'AISkin' is made of two oppositely charged sheets of stretchable substances known as hydrogels.