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Electronic Skin to Help with Disabilities

Photo Credit: Jianliang Xiao/University of Colorado, Boulder

All the fun of cybernetics with no invasive surgery.

Virtual buttons, also known as soft keys, are things that we frequently use on a daily basis without much knowledge. We use them on smartphones, ATMs, and computer monitors. With this knowledge, researchers are trying to do more with the development of electronic skin. The goal is for humans to wear technology that can’t even be noticed. They are looking to develop a super thin, hyper-flexible sticky tape that will have electronic circuits printed on it. While wearing it, people could use it to control devices, receive information, and register sensations like a phone vibration.

The thickness would be half of that of human hair making it virtually impossible to interfere with the normal sense of touch. This would eventually be able to help people who are visually impaired to fully comprehend objects in museums and parks. They would also be able to explore graphical information and personalize it. And, the great thing is, this would not be a costly project.

There is no denying the impact and improvements in technology involving robots. It is expected very soon that robots will be able to understand how hot a cup is or understand how much pressure should be exerted on an object. People who have had a stroke will also soon have personal interfaces that have sensors to monitor their progress and give them feedback.