For over ten years Dr. Bao is developing the newest material, which is similar to the properties of human skin. He can copy the ability of the skin, for example, to flex and to heal. The cover of "artificial skin" is sensitive. It sends special impulses to the brain. Then the brain interprets these signals, and receptors detect different feelings (tactile sense, pain, temperature). This project is intended to help people with disabilities to create a sensor that repeat skin's sensory functions.
Artificial skin has two-ply plastic construct. The top layer serves as a sensor mechanism for recognizing of touch, temperature, and some other factors. The layer located inside serves for transcoding of incoming data and sending impulses to the nerve endings. At the moment, this skin is already able to distinguish between a soft touch and a firm handshake.
Five years ago, a team of scientists has determined the conditions, where rubber and plastic may be pressure sensors by correcting their structure at the molecular level. Researchers could greatly increase degree of sensitivity, using additional a waffle pattern in the layer of plastic. To switch electronic signals into understandable for nerve endings, the team scattered several billions special hollow compartments in the layer of plastic.
As scientists say, by compression of plastic, these separations are touching each other and can transmit electronic impulses. This method makes it possible to copy the properties of the skin and to transmit pulses to the brain, similar to Morse code.
The pulses are conducted to a special mechanism that serves to recognize them, and then this mechanism sends the received pulses to the nerve cells.
The main aim of this project was to prove the possibility of recognition the electrical signal by human neurons. The task was accomplished by constructing of neural circuit, copying the human nervous system and passing them on a special signal as light pulses. This experiment could activate neurons in a circuit that became a direct proof that the developed artificial skin can transmit signals compatible with nerve cells of the human body.