Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fingertip Tingle Enhances Surgeon's Sense of Touch

Our fingers are precision instruments, but there are plenty of things they are not sensitive enough to detect. Now we can augment their talents - using wearable electronics at fingertips that provide tingling feedback about whatever we touch. 
Nanotechnology in figertips

Scientists have designed a flexible circuit that can be worn over the fingertips. It contains a layer of gold electrodes just a few hundred nanometres thick, sandwiched between the layers of polymide plastic to form a "nanomembrane". This is mounted on a finger shaped tube of Silicon rubber, allowing one side of the circuit to be in direct contact with the fingertips. On the other side sensors can be added to measure temperature, pressure or other electrical parameters such as resistance. 

People wearing this device receive a electrotactile simulation -  a tingling sensation caused by a small voltage applied to the skin. The size of the voltage is controlled by the sensor and varies depending on the properties of object being touched.

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