Prosthetics have come a long way since the days of wooden legs. Now a team of Stanford researchers says it's taken a big step towards developing an artificial skin that can actually "feel" pressure and could someday help amputees and burn victims.
Spray-on carbon nanotubes and deformable silicone storing an electrical charge form the stretchy, sensitive material that's being billed as a synthetic skin prototype by the team of Stanford researchers led by associate professor of chemical engineering Zhenan Bao that developed it. The flexible, skin-like sensor can be stretched in any direction without tearing, losing its shape, or wrinkling and it's sensitive enough to detect a wide range of pressure.
"This sensor can register pressure ranging from a firm pinch between your thumb and forefinger to twice the pressure exerted by an elephant standing on one foot," Darren Lipomi, a Stanford post-doctoral researcher who helped develop the artificial skin sensor, told PopSci.com.
A new start up company from Stanford Business School, d.light, is working to help those who don’t have access to electricity to light up their lives. Based in New Delhi, India, they have designed lamps for those who live on only about $1.00 a day. The Nova comes in both solar and AC chargeable models, and is 30 to 50% more efficient than fluorescent light for up to 40 hours. The company is hoping that the high-powered LED displays will replace dangerous and costly kerosene lanterns. They come at a price of $15.00 to $30.00, if the buyer wants both chargers.
Read More | d.light Design
Stanford researchers have figured out a way to extend the life of lithium-ion batteries up to 10 times. Silicon nanowires will soon turn a 2 hour battery into twenty for cellphones, laptops, cameras, MP3 players, and other portable devices. Yi Cui, leader of the group, feels that the applications could include cars and storage generated by solar panels. A patent application has been filed on the Li-ion and Cui is counting on a current battery manufacturer hooking up with the idea. We hope so, too.
Read More | nano techwire