In October 2015, engineers at Stanford University published new research showing that artificial skin can be engineered not only to sense pressure, similar to living skin, but also to relay sensory information to the brain, providing feedback about touch.
The sensory properties were made possible by a flexible organic sensor that directly transduced pressure into digital signals, similar to the way in which mechanoreceptors in human skin generate electrical signals in response to pressure stimuli.
The ability of the artificial skin to relay signals to the brain was demonstrated in mice using optogenetics technology, in which digital pressure signals from the skin-like sensor were converted into light pulses, which then activated neurons. The development of the skin-like sensor represented a major step forward in prosthetics research.
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