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Development of flexible sensors mimicking human finger skin by DGIST

August 06, 2019

Senior Researcher Changsoon Choi's team at DGIST Department of Smart Textile Convergence Research and Dr. Sungwoo Chun at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) developed artificial skin tactile sensors that can feel the similar pressure and vibration felt by human skin. The new sensors can detect more sensitive tactile than the existing ones, thus upgrading the related research further.

DGIST announced that Senior Researcher Changsoon Choi's team at Department of Smart Textile Convergence Research developed a new-concept artificial skin-based sensor that detects both pressure and vibration at the same time and effectively measures textile. Unlike existing sensors which only have pressure and temperature detection functions, the new sensors detect both pressure and vibration as well as convert the surface roughness of a matter into electrical signals to identify, with more sensitive and accurate detections of physical stimulations.

Among various sensory receptors of human, tactile sensors developed by the research team mimicked both 'Slow Adaptive (SA)' receptors that detect pressure and 'Fast Adaptive (FA)' receptors which detect the vibration and roughness. Using the principles of friction electricity generation, the research team especially developed and use the conversion of toughness from tactile into electrical energy signals.

The tactile sensors developed by the research team is in a flexible film-form that consist of an upper panel with human fingerprint-like micro patterns, middle panel with vibrator sensor mimicking FA receptors and a low panel with a pressure sensor mimicking SA receptors. Senior Researcher Dr. Choi's team especially used the principle of identifying roughness by measuring the vibration of friction electrical signals that are generated through object surface, to mimic FA receptors. Along with the sensors developed and the upper panel mimicking fingerprints, the team succeeded in classifying the roughness of 12 fabrics with more than 99% classification accuracy.

The sensors developed by Senior Researcher Choi's team opened the potential of artificial skin grafting for patients who need skin graft as a result of accidents to have real skin sense, which will bring huge effects to the related fields. Moreover, the new sensors will enable users to feel the senses through actual skin during a VR experience in a suit built with a tactile sensor.

Senior Researcher Changsoon Choi at the DGIST Department of Smart Textile Convergence Research said "I was inspired to develop new sensor while watching a movie where the main character was wearing a suit to experience virtual reality and feel his pain like in real. I hope that our research becomes the cornerstone for artificial skin-related and other researches."
-end-
This research was published on the online version of Nano Letters, a renowned nano-science journal, on April 26 ahead of final publication in issue May 2019 and was led by Dr. Sungwoo Chun at SKKU (first author), Professor Changhyun Pang and Researcher Wonkyeong Son at DGIST, Principal Researcher Sang Kyoo Lim, and Senior Researcher Dr. Choi (corresponding-author).

DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

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