The hottest researchers have developed immortal el

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Researchers have developed waterproof and self-healing "fairy level" electronic skin, which is a perfect match with bionic flexible robots

a team of scientists from the National University of Singapore took inspiration from invertebrates such as jellyfish to create electronic skin with similar functions

like jellyfish, electronic skin is transparent, stretchable, tactile and self-healing in the aquatic environment, and can be used for various purposes, from waterproof touch screens to aquatic flexible robots

Benjamin tee, an assistant professor from the Department of materials science and engineering, National University of Singapore, and his team, as well as collaborators from Tsinghua University and the University of California Riverside, jointly developed this material

this team of eight researchers spent more than a year developing this material, and its invention was first published in the journal Nature electronics on February 15, 2019

transparent waterproof self-healing material with a wide range of uses

assistant professor tee has been committed to the research of electronic skin for many years, and participated in the development of the first electronic skin sensor with self-healing function in 2012

his experience in this research field led him to discover the key obstacles that have not been overcome by the electronic skin with self-healing function. He said: at present, one of the challenges faced by many self-healing materials is that they are opaque and cannot work effectively in the humid environment of huansu. These shortcomings make their applications greatly reduced in electronic applications such as touch screens, which usually need to be used in wet weather conditions

he went on to say: this idea prompted them to turn to jellyfish, which are transparent and can sense the humid environment. Therefore, we have been studying how to produce an artificial material that can not only imitate the water resistance characteristics of jellyfish, but also be sensitive to touch with the advantages of high integration, stability and reliability, easy to use and so on

they successfully developed a gel composed of fluorocarbon polymers rich in fluorine ionic liquids. When the polymer is combined with the ionic liquid, the polymer complex interacts with the ionic liquid through the highly reversible ionic dipole, so that it can heal itself

when explaining the advantages of this structure, assistant professor tee explained that most conductive polymer gel, such as hydrogels, will expand in water or dry in air over time. The difference between our materials is that its shape can remain unchanged in both wet and dry environments. It also works well in seawater, even in acidic or alkaline environments

the next generation of flexible robot

this electronic skin is produced by printing this new material into electronic circuits. As a soft and stretchable material, its electrical properties will change when it is touched, extruded or stretched. Assistant Professor tee added: we can measure this change and convert it into readable electrical signals to create a large number of different sensor applications

our 3D printing ability to firmly fix the hammer body and handle on the tensile testing machine also shows the potential of manufacturing completely transparent circuit boards, which can be used in robot applications. We hope this material can be used to develop various applications of new flexible robots, added tee, an assistant professor from the Department of electrical and computer engineering at the National University of Singapore and the Institute of global health research and technology biomedical research at the National University of Singapore

the goal of flexible robots and general flexible electronic products is to imitate the tissue of other objects, so that they can better meet the mechanical requirements of human-computer interaction. In addition to traditional flexible robot applications, the waterproof technology of this new material makes it possible to design amphibious robots and waterproof electronic products

before this, researchers had developed a new rattan like robot, which can grow over a long distance without moving the whole body, and can snake. The researchers said that the reason why they developed flexible robots was inspired by nature. Creatures have the characteristics of growth. Whether vines, fungi or nerve cells in the human brain can cover the distance through soft extension, so bionic devices should also be able to. This flexible robot design allows obstacles to be avoided in a complex unstructured environment, which is expected to navigate in pipelines and conduits, medical equipment, and exploration and search and rescue robots

another advantage of this self-healing electronic skin is that it has the potential to reduce waste. Assistant Professor tee explained that every year, millions of tons of e-waste come from bad computers and tablet computers. We hope to create a future in which electronic devices made of smart materials can repair themselves, thereby reducing the amount of electronic waste in the world

future research and development direction

assistant professor tee and his team will continue their research and hope to further explore the possibility of this material in the future. He said: at present, we are using the comprehensive properties of this material to manufacture new optoelectronic devices, which can be used for many new man-machine communication interfaces

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