Synthetic skin

8th October 2010

With smart materials and wearables celebrating a decade since the first commercial wearable (Levis ICD+ jacket in collaboration with Philips) we are now on the verge of a new breed of technology that sits somewhere between technology and biology - bio tech.

As scientists and designers bridge the gap between tech and bio we are beginning to see new 'hybrids' emerging and new developments on old technology.

I am particularly struck by these two recent developments that take into consideration skin and touch as the new interface for technology. Not a new concept in its thinking - BARE conductives, Philips Design Skin probes and Skinput are to name a few previous projects that touch on this subject, but now scientists have come up with a new electronic skin.

The electronic skin allows robots to have a sense of touch. Taking technology and giving it human intangible senses is really exciting. Why is it that the hairs on our skin raise in certain situations of fear, excitement or the unknown? How will this manifest itself in robotic terms?

A pressure sensitive skin made from geranium and silicon it has built in capacitors that change the skins thickness dependent on the pressure of an object held against it by the robot.

The outcome is hoped that robots will be able to gain an intuitive sense of touch.

Another electronic skin recently developed is by Nokia. A stretchy skin innovation, it also opens up a new consideration within this bridge between bio and tech. In collaboration with researchers at Cambridge University they have developed a flexible circuit board that sticks to skin. The electronic skin responds to touch and pressure even when it is stretched.

Have a look at the video to see it in action





GEOtube


GEOtube salt crystals on mesh


GEOtube


Salt

1st October 2010

I love it when designers use unusual materials with which to design and currently there seems to be something about salt in addition to other foodstuffs that are being used.

At 100% design, design studio Tweraser design showcased their salt lamp shades (not in production yet, but pending and my terrible picture doesn't do them justice - the lighting wsa terrible at 100% design) and now I have stumbled across GEOtube a concept building that would develop its own outer shell from salt.

Conceived by Faulders Studio the building is suggested for Dubai situated in a salt pond. Formed from a lattice of pipes on the outside they would harden with salt deposits over a 15-30 year period.

Using floating solar panels for power, the seawater is pumped from the Persian Gulf to the basement level up to the rooftop and is then fed into the tubing system. The results are suggested to be a crystaline lace like skin on the buildings mesh surface.


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I use this blog as a notebook of inspirations – I post things I see and like and thoughts of mine. I don't revolve around a singular topic and neither does this blog. Everything and anything is relevant


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