Over the past decade, Hollywood has churned out summer blockbusters that more often than not involved a comic book character, and they tend to come with a set of special powers. Well, we normal humans can only continue living our lives without being genetically enhanced in any way, but perhaps engineers from South Korea and the US might be on to something new here – ultra sensitive artificial skin. Working together, scientists from both countries have come up with a new kind of artificial skin which is said to be less complex, more affordable than ever before to make, and is also far more sensitive compared than other electronic sensors that are used in mimicking human skin.
As usual, this scientific development is the result of nature’s inspiration, where the scientists observed the way tiny hairs on some beetles’ bodies interlock with equally tiny hairs on their wings, enabling them to sense extremely small external stimuli. In order to replicate such sensing abilities found in the beetle, the scientific team attached a multitude of polymer fibers that measure a mere 1 micrometer long and 100 nanometers around, all to a solid base so that it forms what resembles a small bed of nails. Having another just like it, and carefully maneuvered into position on top of the first, it will result in the “hairs” of each to intermingle in a somewhat similar manner as though two hairbrushes were pushing against one together. No wonder my spider sense is tingling…
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