The epidermis, as well as acting as our shield against external agents, transmits touch, pressure and temperature, which are sensations that are essential for our survival. All this is difficult to reproduce artificially, yet…
Scientists from Stanford University have developed a synthetic material that seems to have almost identical properties as human skin. This artificial skin – a polymer in fact – transmits cold and heat, detects pressure exerted on the skin and can distinguish between contact with wood or with metal; in other words, it has a “sense of touch”. It is flexible and elastic like our human skin, but most surprising of all is the fact that, if cut, it can self-regenerate in 15 seconds and so recover its original structure and conductivity. This new material, which seems like something straight from science fiction, could be used for skin grafts following illnesses or accidents, with no loss of sensitivity.