Aug 102012
 

Smart Fingertips

Researchers at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have designed smart fingertips that can feel pressure, bend and conform to the finger. Now why would someone want to go ahead and invent this?

Blind people browsing the Internet, surgical trainees engaging in surgery in a virtual world and restoring skin sensation to burn victims are just a few of the uses of this smart skin. One can only foresee that this would be useful in virtual training for cosmonauts and astronauts as well.

According to ScienceMag.org, “Imagine feeling like you’re lifting a 50-kilogram weight just by pulling at thin air. That’s just one of the possible applications of new ‘smart fingertips’ created by a team of nanoengineers. The electronic fingers mold to the shape of the hand, and so far the researchers have shown that they can transmit electric signals to the skin. The team hopes to one day incorporate the devices into a smart glove that creates virtual sensations, fooling the brain into feeling everything from texture to temperature.”

Of course weight and pressure are two other sensations that the researchers are trying to achieve with their smart fingertips. And of course once smart fingertips and smart gloves are perfected, then there will surely be smart whatev’s that will stimulate other parts of the body as well. And I’m not going to say what parts.