Fake the skin for video games
A synthetic skin could help add the sensation of touch to prosthetic hands and at the same time give gamers a very real feeling. The skin comes as a battery-free patch that can be stuck onto any part of the body.
To create the sensation of touch, the patch vibrates and gently pushes the skin surface. It is powered wirelessly and the cloth covering it can be coloured to match the user’s skin.
The synthetic skin was created by John Rogers at Northwestern University in Illinois and his colleagues. In a demonstration, a man with a prosthetic hand wore the skin on the upper part of this arm. While trying to do this with the artificial hand, sensors reached this sensations to his upper arm, allowing him to feel the cup.
Sensitivity is very important for being able to use a limb. Anyone who has tried opening a door in winter with cold hands knows how crucial touch is for grasping and manipulating objects, he says.
Even in gaming, you can use this patch. In another demonstration, the patch vibrated to convert strikes in a combat video-game into real sensations felt on the player’s body.
Rogers now wants to treat the patch in sensitivity, by adding the ability to gently heat and cool the skin.