(September 12, 2010) Stanford researchers have developed an ultrasensitive, highly flexible, electronic sensor that can feel a touch as light as an alighting fly. Manufactured in large sheets, the sensors could be used in artificial electronic skin for prosthetic limbs, robots, touch-screen displays, automobile safety and a range of medical applications.
The light, tickling tread of a pesky fly landing on your face may strike most of us as one of the most aggravating of life's small annoyances. But for scientists working to develop pressure sensors for artificial skin for use on prosthetic limbs or robots, skin sensitive enough to feel the tickle of fly feet would be a huge advance. Now Stanford researchers have built such a sensor.
By sandwiching a precisely molded, highly elastic rubber layer between two parallel electrodes, the team created an electronic sensor that can detect the slightest touch.