All-Knowing Electronic Super Skin By Stanford's Zhenan Bao

FutureTracker| Stanford researcher Zhenan Bao is well on her way to creating ‘super skin’. Her flexible sensor is so sensitive to pressure it can feel a fly landing. Now Bao’s skin is in work to detect chemicals and sense various kinds of biological molecules.

Hang on. The ‘super skin’ will be self-powering, using polymer cells to generate electricity. These new solar cells are stretchable, too — up to 30% beyond their original length and able to snap back with no damage or loss of power.

Bao sees uses for the skin beyond a mimic of human skin.

“You can imagine a robot hand that can be used to touch some liquid and detect certain markers or a certain protein that is associated with some kind of disease and the robot will be able to effectively say, ‘Oh, this person has that disease,’” she said. “Or the robot might touch the sweat from somebody and be able to say, ‘Oh, this person is drunk.’”

The ‘super skin’ will also have uses in clothing , the exteriors of cars, lenses and architectural elements. Bao has also figured out how to make biodegradable ‘super skin’ that is both high-powered and eco-friendly. via Science Daily