WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- ACES or Asynchronous Coded Electronic Skin allows people with prosthetics to feel and differentiate textures
- Research team from National University of Singapore developed the electronic skin with AI algorithms enabling it to process sensations faster than a human’s nervous system
- Not only would ACES differentiate textures, it can also feel temperatures
In a scene from a Star Wars movie, Luke Skywalker’s right hand is replaced by a robotic hand that looks and feels so real that it can feel sensations. This became the inspiration for Singaporean scientist Benjamin Tee and a team of researchers to make an “electronic skin.”
Named ACES or Asynchronous Coded Electronic Skin, the researchers from the National University of Singapore developed it to bring back people with prosthesis to feel pain, temperature, and texture and detect objects through touch.
Tee said, “When you lose your sense of touch, you essentially become numb… and prosthetic users face that problem. So by recreating an artificial version of the skin, for their prosthetic devices, they can hold a hand and feel the warmth and feel that it is soft, how hard are they holding the hand.”
What makes it sensitive is its 100 small sensors and minute size at 1 sq.cm. or 0.16th of a square inch.
In a demonstration by Tee, the “skin” can distinguish a soft squishy ball from a hard plastic one. This is because it has a faster processor than our nervous system that enables it to detect different textures and can even read Braille!
Its AI algorithms allows it to learn quickly.
Tee said, “So humans need to slide to feel texture, but in this case the skin, with just a single touch, is able to detect textures of different roughness.”
The ACES’ sensitivity has gained “tremendous interest” especially from the medical community, Tee added.
Aside from ACES, The National University of Singapore research team has already developed electronic devices that you can wear that emits light and a self-repairing transparent skin.
Source: New York Post