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Stretchable Electronic Skins

Final Report Summary - ESKIN (Stretchable Electronic Skins)

Electronic skins are broadly defined as microfabricated devices, distributed over large-areas, and with mechanical properties suited to comply biological tissues. The human body is soft, round and in constant motion. The ESKIN project was set to develop advanced sets of materials, mechanical designs, and manufacturing technology to reduce the body-device physical mismatch.
The research included engineering soft functional materials, manipulating and integrating them into devices, and validating their multiple functions in integrated systems. Two main lines of applications have been developed: tactile electronic skins and implantable neuroprosthesis. We have demonstrated a tactile (human-like) electronic skin capable of monitoring in real time finger articulation and applied pressure. This ESKIN finds applications in robotics and rehabilitation medicine. We have also demonstrated the empirical assumption that the biomechanical coupling between neural implants and their host tissue is critical to achieve long-term bio-integration. Using ESKIN soft thin film technology, we developed a set of neural implants, including the electronic dura mater, called e-dura, a subdural electrochemical neuroprosthesis that delivers concurrent electroceutical and pharmaceutical treatments to spinal circuits below a spinal cord injury to help restore walking in paralyzed rats.