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A team of engineers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have developed a new type of artificial skin that bruises when hit.
This new invention could be used for skin on robots or prosthetic limbs, bringing these devices closer to that of the real-life organ.
According to research published in the journal Applied Materials & Interfaces by the American Chemical Society, upon bumping, pressing, or hitting the artificial skin, it’ll activate a colorful hydrogel to form a purple bruise spot just like on real skin.
The researchers say the invention could be helpful for soft robots or people with prosthetic limbs, who often don’t have sensory feedback to know when they might’ve bumped or knocked into something. The bruises could alert them to potential injuries or damages on their prosthetics, as per Futurism.
As of now, the invention is only in the proof-of-concept phase, with no entire prosthetic limbs made out of the new material just yet. It’s also unclear if the skin tones will be customized to suit people of different ethnicities, though that could only come into the picture further on in the manufacturing stage.
Nonetheless, this new development could prove an additional boon for prosthetic limbs or soft robots, allowing those who lack sensory feedback to identify where they might be hurt.
Image via American Chemical Society