Thanks to rapid advances in Science and Technology, there is always a need to create more environmentally friendly products and services. This is especially true when it comes to electronic waste or e-waste which can be a major constituent of modern day pollution eg in the US alone, 16 billion pounds of electronic waste was created in 2014.
The patch of electric skin
To these effect, Jianliang Xiao, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at University of Colorado Boulder co-authored a study published in Science Daily, describing a device which is basically a thin film equipped with sensors that can measure pressure, temperature, humidity, and air flow. The film is made of three commercially available compounds mixed together in a matrix and laced with silver nanoparticles: when the e-skin is cut in two, adding the three compounds to the “wound” allows the e-skin to heal itself by recreating chemical bonds between the two sides. That way, the matrix is restored and the e-skin is as good as new. If the e-skin is broken beyond repair, it can just be soaked in a solution that “liquefies” it so that the materials can be reused to make new e-skin. The electronic skin could practical application could range from prosthetics, robots, or smart textiles.
Apparently this is not exactly the first type of scientific case research in the world. Many labs across the globe are developing e-skins. One created in Europe allows users to manipulate virtual objects without touching them, by using magnets. Another one developed in Japan can turn a smart shirt into a video game motion controller. But what makes this latest e-skin is special because it’s recyclable and that’s an important added bonus if you consider that in All these circuit boards, transistors, and hard drives can contain toxic chemicals that need to be disposed of properly.
“This particular device. won’t produce any waste. We want to make electronics to be environmentally friendly. We are facing pollution issues every day. “It’s important to preserve our environment and make sure that nature can be very safe for ourselves and for our kids" explains co-author Xiao. The love for environment is a love for humanity.