Skin is the largest organ in a human body and it has a wide variety of properties such as stretchability, self‐healing ability, high mechanical toughness, and tactile sensing ability. Devices that mimic such properties of human skin along with certain features are generally referred to as electronic skin or e‐skin. The applications of e‐skin do differ widely but the key application areas of e-skin are in the wearable or skin attachable devices, robotics, and prosthetics. Now the time does not seem so far when human looking AI robots seem to be functioning in society with us. The recent invention of this cutting-edge electronic skin devices are the examples that we are moving fast in the direction of a lot of AI advances.
The innovative electronic skin and body parts could be very useful in the cosmetic and other needs like transplants in human beings in modern times. These new electronic skins are stretchable and sensible to various stimuli.
Generally, e-skin is composed of a protective layer, a sensor layer, a signal processing layer, and a substrate, (Franceschi, M, Et. all 2016). The protective layer protects the sensor array, and transfers the tactile information (and other interactions) to the sensor array when the skin is touched or approached; the sensor array converts the tactile information into electrical signals, which are then acquired and processed by the signal processing layer and further transmitted to the bottom structural material layer (i.e. the substrate). Additionally, to the flexibility (to conform to various curved surfaces or shapes) and stretchability (to support joint movement), the overall structure should be able to simultaneously sense different physical stimuli (including strain, twist, temperature, and humidity) with high sensitivity, and to differentiate them with good temporal and spatial resolutions. (Almansoori†, Mariam Turki & Zheng*,Xuan Li† and Lianxi , 2019)
Fundamentally the technology’s development have the intention to support people with skin damage for example burn injuries or grafts; to improve prosthetic interfaces, for instance by enhancing an artificial limb’s ability to precisely grip and to sense sources of damage; and to enhance the sensitivity of human skin to make smart gloves – ones that would give surgeons improved touch, among other applications. The sensory capabilities of these advanced electronic skin will help its application to serve more practical needs. Stretchable electronics in contemporary era is a quickly advancing field having various research teams around the world working on it for the sake of human wellbeing.
However, needless to say the device also has a few bad sides that might be of concern for users. First of all, the installation and use of electronic skin is way too costly. Connecting the skin device to the human brain for its smooth functioning is a delicate and tricky process. Once the e-skin is installed the maintenance of the device is necessary and it also drags a lot from your pocket. Besides, there might be accidents if the robot starts to malfunction and although the idea of using it as human transplants is in progress it could be difficult in practice.
According to the statistics, the global electronic skin market size was valued at USD 4.5 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.5% from 2020 to 2027. Spreading usage of electronic skin owing to its advantages is proving to be a major driving factor than its limitations. The sensitivity and flexibility of human skin are some of the major factors that uniquely distinguish it from other wearable devices. The increasing number of product launches and speedy FDA approvals are boosting its market growth. Moreover, technological advancements in the field of electronic skin are driving the market vastly in current time.