Robot skin becomes reality: For lovable androids, or android police?


In the Star Trek universe it was the Borg Queen who introduced Data to skin that meant he could feel touch – in reality this is now being developed right here on earth.

The sci-fi dream is taking place at Stanford University, where Professor Zhenan Bao is hard at work creating something she calls “super skin”: ultra-sensitive electronic skin that can detect the lightest touch. Strictly speaking this isn’t the same as what the Borg Queen offered up (trust a Trekkie to keep tabs on the details) but it’s still early days and we’re confident this will be sorted.

The solar-powered technology will also one day be able to detect small traces of chemicals – meaning there is the potential for this new, exciting technology to be used by law enforcement, human or otherwise.

On a brighter note, the same technology could also be used in medicine, as the “super skin” can also pick up markers of disease: “For any particular disease, there are usually one or more specific proteins associated with it – called biomarkers – that are akin to a ‘smoking gun,’ and detecting those protein biomarkers will allow us to diagnose the disease,” Bao said to the Stanford University News.

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