Skip to Main Content

The largest organ in the body is a wonder. Skin is soft, flexible, and sensitive to every imaginable stimuli, and seamlessly plugs into the nervous system. This makes it extremely difficult to replicate — but that hasn’t stopped a team of Stanford researchers from trying.

“We hope in the future, prosthetic devices can not only give the functionality but also the appearance of our natural body,” said Weichen Wang, an engineering Ph.D. and first author on a paper on electronic skin published Thursday in Science. 


Electronic skin, or “e-skin,” is not a new concept. Scientists have been dreaming of human-machine interfaces that mimic the sense of touch, healing patients with paralysis or lost limbs, since at least the 1960s. Researchers across the world are working on different iterations, with some that focus on tactile sensing and others that are built for health monitoring, some built from hard, inorganic materials made flexible and others created with soft, organic materials that are flexible from the start. 

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!


Create a display name to comment

This name will appear with your comment

There was an error saving your display name. Please check and try again.