Electronic skin, which is being developed, for example, for humanoid robots, must sense temperature and movement simultaneously. Existing samples can determine these indicators only individually. However, scientists have managed to create a multimodal ion-electronic skin that measures temperature and mechanical stimulation at the same time.
Human skin has various tactile receptors that detect hot or cold temperatures and other tactile sensations such as pinching, twisting, or pushing. Thanks to these receptors, people distinguish between mechanical stimuli and temperature. Conventional electronic skin, made so far, is imperfect due to frequent temperature measurement errors if mechanical influences were applied to it.
Human skin stretches easily but does not break – it is full of electrolytes. Using them, scientists have created a special sensor. Based on a coating of ionic conductors with electrolytes, engineers have created a multifunctional artificial receptor that can simultaneously measure tactile sensations and temperature.
This artificial receptor with a simple electrode-electrolyte-electrode structure has great potential for commercialization and accurately measures the temperature of an object and the direction or profile of deformation under external influences such as compression, stretching, and twisting.
It is expected that multimodal ion-electronic skin, sensitive to temperatures and mechanical stress, will create wearable temperature sensors or humanoid robots.