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Connected Health » Health Gadgets, Professional healthcare products » New smart fingertips could lead to any kind of virtual sensation

New smart fingertips could lead to any kind of virtual sensation

smart-fingertipsGaming consoles like the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft’s Kinect aim to make experiences as real and life-like as possible, but it looks like nanoengineers aren’t content with what we’ve got already as Science Mag reports that a team are busy working on new electronic hands that’ll allow us to feel just about anything.

It may sound like something from Terminator, but we’ve come across a few new ideas along these lines before on our sister site Shiny Shiny, like this pretty questionable massage suit. However, the new technology that has been dubbed “smart fingertips” by the researchers at the University of Illinois will be more advanced than anything we’ve come across before because of the way they’ve been able to mimic sensations and the real flexibility of skin:

“…materials scientist John Rogers of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and colleagues cut up nanometer-sized strips of silicon; implanted thin, wavy strips of gold to conduct electricity; and mounted the entire circuit in a stretchable, spider web-type mesh of polymer as a support. They then embedded the circuit-polyimide structure onto a hollow tube of silicone that had been fashioned in the shape of a finger. Just like turning a sock inside out, the researchers flipped the structure so that the circuit, which was once on the outside of the tube, was on the inside where it could touch a finger placed against it.”

Obviously this kind of technology has huge implications for gaming and… dare we say it… the adult entertainment industry, but here at Connected Health we’re interested in what kind of impact it’ll have on medical technology and whether the new “smart fingertips” will help to enable blind people to interact with words and pictures even more or whether they could benefit those with sensory problems.

[Via Science Mag]

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