The jellyfish – a translucent, gelatinous stain that fills the oceans of the world – does not seem to be inspirational in nature.
But do not tell the scientists at the National University of Singapore. They were inspired by the modest, transparent invertebrates to build their latest creation: a self-healing, stretchable, touch-sensitive electronic skin that can be used to develop soft robots and various human-machine communication interfaces.
"We wondered how we could make an artificial material that could mimic the water-resistant properties of jellyfish and be touch-sensitive at the same time," said Benjamin Tee, lead researcher in the study, in a press release.
The details of Tee's new creation were released on February 1
By blending an elastic plastic with a fluorine-rich ionic liquid into a gel, Tee and his research team created a transparent skin that can "heal" itself and operate in wet environments, as in previous gels – such as tissue engineering used hydrogels – was not possible.
"What makes our aterial different is that it can maintain its shape in both wet and dry environments, and it works well in seawater and even in acidic or alkaline environments," said Tee.
When the skin is cut or torn, the team has shown that it can reestablish electrical conductivity within minutes – and stitch back together within days. I bet it would make the jellyfish jealous.
And the material is also conductive, which means that it can react to touch, stretch and stretch. These forces alter the electrical properties of the skin and could damage the skin by measuring these changes
The researchers suggest that this could enable new interaction methods with soft robots, an emerging field of robotics where robots made of more malleable and supple materials than solid metal are to be built – such as. The researchers showed the touch sensitivity of GLASSES with a simple game of classic mobile game Snake.
And a self-healing skin can also have a positive impact on the environment and eliminate the need for replacement. Ifwe dump them – with more than 40 million tons of e-waste per year. Tea sees a chance there.
"We hope to create a future in which electronic devices made of smart materials can perform self-repair functions to reduce the amount of electronic waste in the world," he said.
Originally published 8:24 pm PT
Update 9:16 pm PT: Corrected name of National University of Singapore