Inspired by Star Wars, researchers create “tactile” electronic skins.

Scientists at the National University of Singapore say they have created an artificial skin called asynchronously encoded electronic skin (ACES), which is connected by a network of sensors connected by a single electrical conductor, Reuters reported. It is reported that a team of scientists at the National University of Singapore has spent a year and a half developing the electronic skin, which can be used in robots or prosthetics to recreate a sense of touch that feels pain, temperature, shape and texture.

“When you lose your sense of touch, you basically become numb… And prosthetic users face this problem,” Dr. Benjamin Tee, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore who led the research team, told Reuters in an interview. “So by recreating an artificial skin, for their prosthetic devices, they can hold a hand, feel the warmth, feel it is soft, and how hard the hand they hold.”

Scientists were inspired by a scene from Star Wars 2: The Empire Strikes Back in which Luke Skywalker lost his right hand and was replaced by a robot who could experience touch, Reuters reported.

ACES was first developed in 2019, but in July, a team at the National University of Singapore showed how it can help robots become smarter with their electronic skin and vision sensors. Benefits include enabling robots to read Braille and classify objects.

This is not the first futuristic skin created by Dr Tee and his team. Last March, they introduced a self-healing, stretchable skin that allows humans to interact better with robots.