Solar-powered skin adds “feel” to prosthetic limbs

Mar 23, 2017, 7:34 AM EDT
(Source: Michael Mol/flickr)
(Source: Michael Mol/flickr)

Researchers from the University of Glasgow in the U.K. are developing a smart, solar-powered skin that would mimic natural skin’s tactile feedback to pressure, humidity and temperature, thus opening new possibilities for development of more realistic and touch-sensitive prosthetic limbs.

In an experiment, the scientists used graphene, an ultra-thin, strong, highly flexible, electrically conductive and transparent form of carbon, to harness solar energy in the form of electricity, which they used to power a sensor-laden prosthetic hand, writes SBS.

Lead researcher Ravinder Dahiya considers this a breakthrough development, which paves the way for entirely energy-autonomous prosthetic limbs of tomorrow. In the next stage, scientists plan to find means for storing the generated power so that it can be used whenever an amputee needs it, notes CNET.