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New Stretchable Solar Cells Will Power Artificial Electronic 'Super Skin'

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posted on Feb, 24 2011 @ 07:04 PM

"Super skin" is what Stanford researcher Zhenan Bao wants to create. She's already developed a flexible sensor that is so sensitive to pressure it can feel a fly touch down. Now she's working to add the ability to detect chemicals and sense various kinds of biological molecules. She's also making the skin self-powering, using polymer solar cells to generate electricity. And the new solar cells are not just flexible, but stretchable -- they can be stretched up to 30 percent beyond their original length and snap back without any damage or loss of power.

"With artificial skin, we can basically incorporate any function we desire," said Bao, a professor of chemical engineering. "That is why I call our skin 'super skin.' It is much more than what we think of as normal skin."

Bao's team has successfully demonstrated the concept by detecting a certain kind of DNA. The researchers are now working on extending the technique to detect proteins, which could prove useful for medical diagnostics purposes.


I have never heard of this kind of stuff before. Stretchable solar cell/skin? I wonder how many different things this could be applied to.

Maybe we could put this skin on robots? The robot would have the skin as the power generator, and at the same time, be able to detect chemicals/biological stuff in the air. Other than just generating power and detecting biological/chemical stuff, what else could this possibly do in the future?

Bao's team has already demonstraded the concept by detecting some kind of DNA, and now theyre working on detecting protiens. Thats a pretty small thing to be detecting with "solar powered skin", atleast in my opinion.
edit on 24-2-2011 by buni11687 because: (no reason given)

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