Solar-Powered Graphene Skin Provides Feeling to Prosthetics

artificial skinCurrently, there are no commercially available prosthetics that restore a sense of touch to those who have lost a limb. Fortunately there are several products are in development which would enable upper-limb prosthetic users to do simple material handling tasks, like picking strawberries. Although these types of tasks may seem basic, they are virtually impossible without a sense of touch and pressure.

A team at the University of Glasgow that previously developed a flexible ‘electronic skin’ capable of making sensitive pressure measurements has now discovered how a way to provide solar power to an array of sensors to create feeling to an artificial limb. The new skin is made of a single layer of graphene—a strong, flexible material composed of a single-atom-thick sheet of carbon—atop a photovoltaic cell. Since graphene is both transparent and electrically conductive, 98% of the light that strikes it is absorbed by the photovoltaic cell underneath. Currently the skin only requires 20 nanowatts of power per square centimenter, but must be used immediately. The team is currently working on another prototype that includes flexible supercapacitors to store excess energy.

The solar-powered skin could also be used in wearable electronics for health monitoring. With a different set of sensors, the sun-powered material could be used for bio-sensing, such as monitoring blood glucose levels in diabetics.

Eclipse Automation specializes in a variety of solar, nuclear, electricity and wind power, including lithium systems and cell manufacturing that can be applied to numerous industries, such as electronics and life sciences. With a variety of fastening solutions are available for assembling intricate parts, similar to the bio-sensors in these flexible batteries, Eclipse ensures that you receive customized, scalable solutions that are high in quality and durability.

Source: Engadget