Stanford University material scientists have devised the first synthetic, plastic skin that is conductive, sensitive to touch, and capable of repeatedly self-healing at room temperature. The most immediate applications are in the realm of smart, self-healing prosthetic limbs that are covered in this synthetic skin — but in the long term, the plastic might be used to make self-healing electronic devices, or you might even elect to replace your fingertips (or other piece of skin) with the synthetic, bionic equivalent.
There are two important innovations here: a synthetic material that can repeatedly self-heal, and the fact that it’s electrically conductive — meaning it can detect changes in pressure and temperature (i.e. it’s sensitive, like real skin). We’ll tackle the self-healing bit first.
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