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Home > News > Sensitive Synthetic Skin in the Works for Prosthetic Arms

January 5th, 2008

Sensitive Synthetic Skin in the Works for Prosthetic Arms

Abstract:
By combining carbon nanotubes with a specially designed polymer, researchers are making a material that looks, feels, and functions like human skin. The synthetic skin could lead to next-generation prosthetic arms with which users can feel a light touch, shake hands, cook, and type naturally.

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), in Tennessee; NASA; and the nonprofit National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), in Hampton, Va., plan to have a 6-square-centimeter patch of the synthetic skin ready by the end of next year. "With this technology, the artificial limb will come much closer to its human counterpart," says ORNL researcher and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) liaison Art Clemons.

The project is part of DARPA's Revolutionizing Prosthetics program, which aims to build by 2010 a strong, lightweight mechanical arm that can touch and feel just like the real thing, send signals to amputees' brains, and respond to direct brain control.

Source:
spectrum.ieee.org

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