Technology News

Technology News

Researchers Create Synthetic Skin

Researchers Create Synthetic Skin

We have all heard of skin grafting and how invaluable it has proved in treating burn patients. However recent researchers at Stanford have shown that it is possible after all to lead science in a direction to create synthetic skin. The research was carried on extensively in the Stanford university in California and was published on the 17th of November after two whole years. What the researchers claimed to find was simple: they were searching for alternative materials which could be wearable and could potentially imitate the properties of skin, especially its healing properties as responsiveness to touch.

The research team at Stanford has, for the first time in the history of mankind has found that the electric properties of the organic semiconductors could be amalgamated with the self healing properties and potentialities of skin along with the flexibility in the area of stretching that is unique to human skin. While skin grafting depends on taking your own and replacing it on the damaged surfaces, this research, which was also assisted by the Dr. Bob C. Schroeder, is actually focused on a brand new sort of polymer which has properties of semi-conduction. While most mind may wonder how this could be done, the mechanism or the prototype of it seems to be devilishly simple.

The polymer of synthetic skin construct is dual layered: the first layer comprising, the sensing mechanism and the bottom layer is in charge of transmitting the signals which translate them into a stimulus of the biochemical nature which is compatible with the nerve cells. The top layer of the synthetic skin also happens to have a peculiarly powerful sensor which much like the actual human skin can feel the pressure from the same range. For example, if you are shaking hands with someone who actually has the prototype synthetic skin, they would feel the same stimulations upon a handshake or a even a simple finger tap perhaps on the shoulder.

The prototype synthetic skin has been made to suffer mechanically induced injuries and has proven capable of sustaining and triumphing over those just like original human skin. However if there is one thing that is still plaguing the minds of the researchers, is how they could make the product with lesser toxic solvents and what more could be improved in the field of self healing.

At the initial stages of the synthetic skin research, the team had found that the rubbers and plastics can be used as sensors of pressure and their molecular structures can be tested for flexibility and springiness. The natural sensitivity of this polymer was then utilised to aid in the conduction of electricity by squeezing the nano tubes of the plastic together. This in turn helps the plastic sensor to emulate human skin. And the brain receives the signals as transmissions of short electrical pulses. The more the pressure on the nano tube the more the varied impulses. Once the impulse is completely stopped, the pulses relax, the feeling produced due to this is akin to a gentle touch. This pressure sensing mechanism was later used for the second ply of their synthetic skin, which could even impart the electricity of the skin cells.

If everything goes smoothly, medical science could potentially be giving back life to a lot of patients!

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Technology News

Data Skin: New Soft Electronics Fabrication Method is a Step toward DIY Smart Tattoos

Data Skin: New Soft Electronics Fabrication Method is a Step toward DIY Smart Tattoos

A Mechanical Engineering Professor Carmel Majidi from Carnegie Mellon University, Eric Markvicka a Ph.D. student and former postdoctoral fellow MichaelBarlett have formulated an innovative method that can develop electronics based on your skin’s sensitivity that too very quickly and in a cost-effective way called Data Skin. This is an electronic device that can be worn, much similar to a fitbit that will cling like a tattoo or a sticker that is capable of reading your pulse and can effectively take into notice all the gestures of your hand.

The whole idea seems very tempting and appealing, but such electronic gadgets are based on your skin’s sensitivity is also subjective to several challenges.

The technology included in this device is interfaced with circuits which are very soft along with some microchips that rigid in nature and requires electrical hardware which should be capable for apprehending, processing and analyzing power.

The Mechanical engineering professor said that this electronic hybridity leads to several kinds of breakthrough relating to fabrication of digital techniques that supports the entire process of effective manufacturing of electronics that would be both wireless and soft including other properties like water-resistance, and adhesives which are based on medical grades.

The electronics which are developed from this method contains such vital components which are extremely rigid which is generally found on circuit boards, like transistors, microprocessors and power regulators that fall in the category of those electronics which are based on a circuit board.

This electrical gadget sustains wires which are soft and deformed which supports stretching as well as bending.

This data skin method is most commonly found in those commercial films which is responsible for the creation of those electronics with the help of fast prototypes and assembled techniques.

The team of Engineers, professors and fellows has successfully lead to the formulation of entirely functional data based skin called data skin under the speculation of an hour. The method is based on those tools and materials which are extremely inexpensive and the circuits which are to be used can be produced with the help of not even a dollar.

When it would be folded around the tip of your finger, the data skin which wrapped by an optical pulse based oximetry chip that is capable checking heart rates and generation of oxygen in your blood and can get clubbed to the back portion of your hand so that is can measure your hand gestures.

After being used your data skin can be peeled of easily without any sort of pain and then you can finally discard it. Since, the whole process of manufacturing is very fast and cost-effective, data skin enables the users to formulate the extremely customized data that can be worn on skins.

This is very big step in towards such a big innovation that supports fabrication of the data as per your preference that too without being aided by any experts. The whole creation process lies in your grip and you can create the data based wearables that suits your skin.

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Technology News

Engineers Create Room Temperature Multiferroic Material

Engineers Create Room Temperature Multiferroic Material

Creation Of Multiferroic Material In Room Temperature

Researchers in the Department of Materials science and engineering at Cornell University witnessed the creation of Multiferroic Material in room temperature for the first time in the history of science. We are talking about the year 2014, when a group of scholars published their work, a paper on Multiferroics, which is the only known material which is both ferroelectric and magnetic and hence magnetism can be controlled in room temperature. All you need to do is apply an electric field at room temperature.

At first, we try to know a bit regarding multiferroic material and how it works.

What Do You Mean By Multiferroic?

Multiferroic are materials which are both ferroelectric as well as magnetic. There are very few ferroelectrics which have magnetic properties and so it is difficult to create. Moreover, in most of the Multiferroic created, the properties are fully expressed in low temperatures. This the reason why this particular paper is very important because for the first time, Multiferroic was known to work in room temperature.

Researchers Involved In The Whole Process:

The researchers were as follows:

  • Darrell Schlom- Herbert Fisk Professor of Industrial Chemistry in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
  • Dan Ralph- F.R. Newman Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Ramamoorthy Ramesh- Professor at UC Berkeley.

David Muller and Craig Fennie assisted this group headed by Professor Schlom. They both are professors of applied Engineering and physics. Both of them have partnered the group to generate a new Multiferroic at room temperature by combining two non-Multiferroic materials.

The paper, “Atomically engineered ferroic layers yield a room-temperature magnetoelectric Multiferroic” was published on 22nd of September, authors of which are Julia Mundy along with Muller and Schlom, Charles Brooks and Megan Holtz.

About The Research:

The researchers planned in combining two materials to create the Multiferroic material in room temperature.

  • Ferrimagnetic Oxide (LuFe2O4) – This comprises of alternating monolayers of Lutetium oxide with double mono layers of iron oxide.
  • Hexagonal lutetium iron oxide (LuFeO3) – it comprises of alternating single mono layers of iron oxide and lutetium oxide.

The former is ferroelectric but not magnetic whereas the latter is a strong ferrimagnetic oxide.

After combining both of these, they just added another iron oxide monolayer to each ten atomic recurrences of LuFeO3 and hence they got exactly what they needed.

Infrastructural benefits of Multiferroic:

All the research and experiments were done in the Schlom Lab. The lab, known for its infrastructure made the work very easy for the professors. The material hence made was tested at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and it was proved that the material actually expressed the desired properties at area temperature.

Ferromagnetism is really important for their revocable polarization and the fact that they can hold this polarization without being connected to power. The project was very successful and was funded by a number of universities and institutes including collaborations from University of Illinois, National University of Standards and Technology, the University of Michigan, Penn State University and funds from U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Material Science and Engineering.

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New Plastic Material Begins to Oscillate Spontaneously in Sunlight

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Scientists Discover New Plastic That Oscillate Under Sunlight

Materials that move under light have been known to mankind for years. But this light had to be ultraviolet light for the desired effect to take place. In a path-breaking research, scientists from Eindhoven and Berlin have developed a new plastic substance that freely oscillates when kept directly under the rays of the sun. This is a brilliant new development as intense ultraviolet rays could damage the material itself. Now, the same behavior is being exhibited under visible, unfiltered daylight.

Description of the Plastic Material

Researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology and Humboldt University in Germany have presented this discovery in a journal titled ‘Nature Communications’. They developed new plastic which is made of a polymer layer containing photo-sensitive molecules, also known as ‘azo-dyes’. When placed under sunlight, the thin film starts to spontaneously and irregularly move by itself. The pliable new plastic thus has a self-cleaning surface and can be used to develop a variety of things like solar cells, for example.

Reasons for this Mysterious Behavior

Scientists have not been able to completely explain the cause behind this behavior of the new plastic yet. Michael Debije suggests that it could be because of a combination of factors. The light sensitive molecules of the new plastic display a tendency to bend, stretch and shift their positions when kept under the influence of direct unprocessed daylight. Now, these molecules are bound together like a series within a larger polymer network of crystals.

Once the photo-sensitivity of the cells are activated under visible light, they exhibit behavior similar to getting cramped. This results in the oscillating movement as displayed by the plastic strip. Because of this, the final result is one of a self-oscillating strip of polymer actuator which when driven by sunlight displays chaotic behavior. The researchers have concluded that there is a lot more to this tiny discovery which can only be known through further research.


Benefits from this New Find

This discovery could be revolutionary as a self-cleaning material. The oscillating polymer can be used as a self-cleaning surface. According to researcher Debije, surfaces that are constantly moving by itself will also keep itself clean. It would be very difficult for sand, dust and other environmental agents to get stuck to a constantly vibrating surface. Therefore, this new plastic can be used to build self cleaning solar panels in inaccessible areas like deserts where both water supply and human intervention is scarce as well as inconvenient.

This idea has been put forward by fellow researcher Dick Broer. But this is only the tip of an iceberg. Scientists believe that this principle can be applied to a whole range of different things. Debije believes that this is just the beginning and there could be a bright future lying ahead of the self oscillating plastic. A lot more research is necessary to know the unknown and the researchers hope to attract the attention of many more fellow researchers from all across the globe.

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