New user-interactive Electronic Skin to enable Programmable Touch Operation

An electronic skin that features to be user interactive, can map the sense of touch through electronic readouts to offer visual output as a readable response. The electronic skin, however, has a complex structure, consumes high power, and has a high cost that makes it use limited for frugal practical applications. To address these drawbacks, a team of researchers in China who specialize in advanced metals, materials, and engineering have come up with a self-powered, user-interactive electronic skin according to a new report in Science Advances. The new user-interactive electronic skin which is self-powered is named SUE-skin, and is a simple and cost-effective structure based on triboelectric-optical model.

Material converts stimulus of touch into Electrical Signals

The material of the new electronic skin converts stimulus of touch into electrical signals to provide an instantaneously visible light. This visible light is triggered at a pressure threshold of as low as 20 kPa without external power supply. Thereafter, the electronic skin linked to a microcontroller to develop a platform for programmable touch operation that recognized more than 156 interaction logics. This is to seamlessly control consumer electronics. The advantages of this cost-effective technology are augmented reality, gesture control, and intelligent prosthetic applications.

Meanwhile, human-machine interaction can be implemented by means of three parts to complete two processes: learn machine instructions and provide feedback. Most electronic skin devices are controlled by electrical signals, wherein control commands are provided by means of electrical readouts such as mouse-computer prompts and keyboard. Due to lack of ability of humans to directly comprehend information as electrical signals, the human-machine interactions processes provide signals perceivable by humans, such as sound, visible light, and force. Contextually, visible light received from a display screen, in general, is the best candidate because of higher spatial resolution and intuitiveness.