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When it Comes to Prosthetics, the Future Is Apparently Here

Researchers in South Korea have recently developed a way to implement sensor technology to make artificial limbs more “human-like,” able to sense temperature, pressure, and moisture.

What perhaps sounds like science fiction is actually accomplished through the use of artificial skin—created by a combination of rubber and silicon—integrated with prosthetics.

According to Professor Dae-Hyeong Kim of Seoul National University School of Chemical and Biological Engineering, this high-tech stretchable skin is like a copy of human skin. Featuring a sensor density of up to 400 per square millimeter, it essentially recreates the sense of touch.

Professor Kim explains, “The skin can feel pressure, temperature, strain, humidity. Also it is soft, just like human skin, and embedded with heating elements that can make itself warm.”

The next big step is to develop a way to connect these sensor readings to the brain, in a manner that is similar to how our nerves do, which is by sending signals through our nervous system when we touch something cold, wet, etc. While the technology is not quite there yet, considering that a bionic arm can be controlled by thought, it certainly seems feasible.

Professor Kim added, “I hope a robotic limb with this synthetic skin can be used by disabled people. For industrial uses, it can be applied to various types of robots, like a humanoid robot.”

Prosthetics and robotics have come a long way since wooden peg legs and iron hooks, and it seems that we are quickly closing in on a time where more amputees can have fully integrated prosthetic limbs, controlled by thought as well as sensitive to heat and pressure.

H/T: Voice of America

  • Kaiser Permanente

    Mr. Zhang, I long for the good ole days of peg legs and hooks, matey!

  • Bareta

    For some reason I feel like watching T2