These days, ultrathin electronic skin tattoos are the centre of attraction that can help control virtual and physical objects with mere hand gestures. This is extremely thin and almost invisible foil which sticks to the palm of the hand. It seems like another skin that has sensors to provide people with a sixth sense for magnetic fields.
In February 2011, the Stanford team developed a stretchable solar cell that could be used to power their electronic skin. An accordion-like micro-structure allowed the cells to stretch up to 30% without damage. The team also added biological and chemical sensors to the skin to supplement the pressure sensors. Bao said she imagined the artificial skin could one day be used on robot hands capable of detecting things such as disease or intoxication of humans via touch. In August 2011, an international team announced an electronic patch for monitoring patient’s vital signs which were described as “electric skin”. The device was created by embedding sensors in a thin film and then placing the film on a polyester backing similar to those found on temporary tattoos. A small coil provided power through induction. In tests, the device stayed in place for 24 hours without adhesives, relying instead on the van der Waals force, and was flexible enough to move with the skin it was placed on.
You can manipulate or control everyday objects as well as appliances both in the physical world and in virtual reality through mere gestures with the help of the sensors of this skin. The ultrathin skin is able to sense and process body motion in a room. This electronic skin traces the movement of a hand.
According to the scientists, we can digitize its rotations and translate them to the virtual world. With the use of this technique, the researchers managed to control a virtual light bulb on a computer screen without touching anything. In order to achieve this result, they set a permanent magnet in a ring-shaped plastic structure emulating a dial. After this, researchers ensured to link the angles between the wearable sensor and the magnetic source through a control parameter. This control parameter modulated the intensity of the light bulb. All the angles between 0 and 180 degrees are coded so that they correspond to a typical hand movement when adjusting a lamp. Thus they were able to control it just with a hand movement over the permanent magnet.
This unique technology required a load of cameras and accelerometers as well as fast image data processing.
Without losing their functionality, the sensors used in the artificial skin can also withstand bending, folding and stretching. These are suitable for the incorporation of soft, shape-able materials like textiles to manufacturing wearable electronics.