Wireless E-Skin Patch Conveys a Gentle Touch

A mother smiles at her toddler via a live video feed, then runs her fingers along the computer screen. Miles away, the boy feels the strokes of her hand on his back.

A man with a lower-arm amputation picks up a beer can with his prosthetic hand and feels the artificial fingers make contact with the can.

A gamer’s animated character is struck on the arm and shoulder by an opponent, and the gamer feels pressure on her corresponding body parts.

These are real-life applications of a new electronic skin technology from the lab of John Rogers and his colleagues at Northwestern University, detailed in a paper published today in the journal Nature. The soft, lightweight sheet of electronics is wireless, battery-free, sticks right to the skin, and re-creates a sensation of touch.

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