Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The power to heal at the tips of your fingers

Date:
August 10, 2012
Source:
Institute of Physics
Summary:
The intricate properties of the fingertips have been mimicked and recreated using semiconductor devices in what researchers hope will lead to the development of advanced surgical gloves.

The intricate properties of the fingertips have been mimicked and recreated using semiconductor devices in what researchers hope will lead to the development of advanced surgical gloves.
Credit: lilibella / Fotolia

The intricate properties of the fingertips have been mimicked and recreated using semiconductor devices in what researchers hope will lead to the development of advanced surgical gloves.

Related Articles


The devices, shown to be capable of responding with high precision to the stresses and strains associated with touch and finger movement, are a step towards the creation of surgical gloves for use in medical procedures such as local ablations and ultrasound scans.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University and Dalian University of Technology have published their study August 10, in IOP Publishing's journal Nanotechnology.

Offering guidelines to the creation of these electrotactile stimulation devices for use on surgeons' fingertips, their paper describes the materials, fabrication strategies and device designs, using ultrathin, stretchable, silicon-based electronics and soft sensors that can be mounted onto an artificial 'skin' and fitted to fingertips.

"Imagine the ability to sense the electrical properties of tissue, and then locally remove that tissue, precisely by local ablation, all via the fingertips using smart surgical gloves. Alternatively, or perhaps in addition, ultrasound imaging could be possible," said co-author of the study Professor John Rogers.

The researchers suggest that the new technology could open up possibilities for surgical robots that can interact, in a soft contacting mode, with their surroundings through touch.

The electronic circuit on the 'skin' is made of patterns of gold conductive lines and ultrathin sheets of silicon, integrated onto a flexible polymer called polyimide. The sheet is then etched into an open mesh geometry and transferred to a thin sheet of silicone rubber moulded into the precise shape of a finger.

This electronic 'skin', or finger cuff, was designed to measure the stresses and strains at the fingertip by measuring the change in capacitance -- the ability to store electrical charge -- of pairs of microelectrodes in the circuit. Applied forces decreased the spacing in the skin which, in turn, increased the capacitance.

The fingertip device could also be fitted with sensors for measuring motion and temperature, with small-scale heaters as actuators for ablation and other related operations

The researchers experimented with having the electronics on the inside of the device, in contact with wearer's skin, and also on the outside. They believe that because the device exploits materials and fabrication techniques adopted from the established semiconductor industry, the processes can be scaled for realistic use at reasonable cost.

"Perhaps the most important result is that we are able to incorporate multifunctional, silicon semiconductor device technologies into the form of soft, three-dimensional, form-fitting skins, suitable for integration not only with the fingertips but also other parts of the body," continued Professor Rogers.

Indeed, the researchers now intend to create a 'skin' for integration on other parts of the body, such as the heart. In this case, a device would envelop the entire 3D surface of the heart, like a sock, to provide various sensing and actuating functions, providing advanced surgical and diagnostic devices relevant to cardiac arrhythmias.

Future challenges include creating materials and schemes to provide the device with wireless data and power.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ming Ying, Andrew P Bonifas, Nanshu Lu, Yewang Su, Rui Li, Huanyu Cheng, Abid Ameen, Yonggang Huang, John A Rogers. Silicon nanomembranes for fingertip electronics. Nanotechnology, 2012; 23 (34): 344004 DOI: 10.1088/0957-4484/23/34/344004

Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics. "The power to heal at the tips of your fingers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120810083718.htm>.
Institute of Physics. (2012, August 10). The power to heal at the tips of your fingers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120810083718.htm
Institute of Physics. "The power to heal at the tips of your fingers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120810083718.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins