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ACM TechNews

Color-Shifting Electronic Skin Could Have Wearable Tech and Prosthetic ­ses

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A visualisation of the layers of graphene used for membranes.

Researchers in China have developed a new type of user-interactive electronic skin based on flexible electronics made from graphene.

Credit: University of Manchester

Researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China have developed a user-interactive electronic skin with a color change perceptible to the human eye.

The sensor performs this operation with a lower level of strain, which could have applications in robotics, prosthetics, and wearable technology.

The researchers used flexible electronics made from graphene, in the form of a highly sensitive resistive strain sensor, combined with a stretchable organic electrochromic device.

"To obtain good performance with a simple process and reduced cost, we designed a modulus-gradient structure to use graphene as both the highly sensitive strain-sensing element and the insensitive stretchable electrode of the ECD layer," says Tsinghua University's Tingting Yang.

The mechanical property of the substrate was strongly relevant to the performance of the strain-sensing materials.

"This is something that has previously been somewhat overlooked, but that we believe should be closely considered in future studies of the electromechanical behavior of certain functional materials," Yang says.

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