If you’ve seen Mission Impossible Rogue Nation, you might be familiar with a scene where grand follower of Xenu Tom Cruise straps on a diving suit, and uses a patch of skin on his arm to check his oxygen levels. It might sound like it, but this is not a piece of tech exclusive to the cult of Scientology.
We, and by we I mean clever scientists 50 points clear of my IQ level, are developing this e-skin into a reality, to use on robots and the like. You may call into question the ethics of this, but hey, I’m all for cybernetic augmentation, and this seems like a step in the right direction. If that means that we accelerate the process by which we’re enslaved by robots, I’m going to take the dystopia in exchange for having a robo-arm that makes coffee.
Back on topic, you have to agree that our skin is pretty cool. It can sense pressure and temperature, it stretches, and most importantly, it heals itself. The clever blokes at University of California Berkeley have already had much success experimenting with electric skin, and say that the application could be ground-breaking, especially on prosthetic limbs. In 2013, they basically created the first conductive self-healing polymer, and it can already heal itself, and detect the pressure of a human handshake.
“(Skin) can sense pressure and temperature, it stretches, and most importantly, it heals itself”
Prosthetics would no longer have to create an image problem for conscious amputees, and the health of the patient could be monitored in detail. Scholars of the University of Cincinnati have also created a microfluidic skin that has similar sweat rates, and combining that technology with electronic skin could essentially create super skin that grips and senses way better than our boring human variant. Imagine eliminating the need for oven gloves? Grabbing your turkey dinosaurs with your bare hands. That’s the kind of world I want to live in.