Artificial organs are great for helping people with disabilities get better. They not only offer people a chance to be whole again, but also give us a glance into the future of biology based technology.
However, no matter how advanced the organ may be, it isn’t able to match the exact feel of a real human organ, due to the lack of the sense of touch.
The sense of touch, for humans, is one of the most fundamental parts of our identity as it is the most constant form of interaction our body has with the outer world.
Now, researchers at Stanford University claim to have created an artificial form of skin, which can bring the sense of touch to prosthetic limbs, thus giving them a more human feel.
This Artificial Skin is based on a unique pyramidal geometry of Carbon Nanotubes, which sends sensory signals directly to the brain, through light based interactions.
The pyramid based design is chosen specifically because it is capable of compressing together under pressure, which helps to maintain signal clarity and reduce resistance.
The team has already tested this skin on mice, with promising results. They now hope to improve upon these results by working on the stability and durability of the circuit layer of the device, which is important if this technology is expected to work with humans.
This would mean creating more complex variations of the existing technology with sensors for stretching, temperature and vibration in addition to pressure.
Another goal for the team is to improve the fabrication processes, which would allow scalable production of sensors skins for a wide range of prosthetic.
Once all this is done, we will then be able to see what the final iteration of the artificial skin technology might look like, and how it would change human interaction with prosthetics.