16 Aug '12, 5pm
Check out the world's first electronic fingertip, which could change everything from computer gaming to surgery
Surgeons may be known for their incredible precision, but even the most talented practitioners have their limits. An electronic “fingertip” that heightens one’s sense of touch, however, could pave the way for a new breed of high-tech surgical gloves designed to trick the brain into feeling everything from pressure to temperature. A joint effort by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Northwestern University , and China’s Dalian University of Technology , the device consists of ultra-flexible silicon-based electronics and soft sensors mounted onto artificial skin . The smart appendage is molded to fit the wearer’s fingertips, facilitating the transmission of electronic signals—which produce a mild tingling sensation—that could eventually recreate the feeling of heat, texture, motion, and resistance.