In less than a decade, robots and other electronic appliances may wear skin. Japanese researchers have developed a rubber-like material that stretches over surfaces and conducts electricity. That means the wearer can be made sensitive to temperature, moisture, and pressure.
Imagine this new skin covering surfaces such as your steering wheels, able to detect your health or wakefulness or sobriety. Hospital beds might also be able to monitor vital signs of patients lying on them.
How about a stretchable tv or computer monitor screen using this new material? Unfold it to watch, then fold it up and store it when you’re not using it.
What else? Clothes that act like a literal second skin to enhance perception of temperature and pressure or to give sensation to people who have lost tactile sensation.Â Strip that adheres to a spot on the skin and broadcasts body temperature. Swimming skins that detect sharks.