Stretchable silicon nanoribbon electronics for skin prosthesis

Nat Commun. 2014 Dec 9;5:5747. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6747.


Sensory receptors in human skin transmit a wealth of tactile and thermal signals from external environments to the brain. Despite advances in our understanding of mechano- and thermosensation, replication of these unique sensory characteristics in artificial skin and prosthetics remains challenging. Recent efforts to develop smart prosthetics, which exploit rigid and/or semi-flexible pressure, strain and temperature sensors, provide promising routes for sensor-laden bionic systems, but with limited stretchability, detection range and spatio-temporal resolution. Here we demonstrate smart prosthetic skin instrumented with ultrathin, single crystalline silicon nanoribbon strain, pressure and temperature sensor arrays as well as associated humidity sensors, electroresistive heaters and stretchable multi-electrode arrays for nerve stimulation. This collection of stretchable sensors and actuators facilitate highly localized mechanical and thermal skin-like perception in response to external stimuli, thus providing unique opportunities for emerging classes of prostheses and peripheral nervous system interface technologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electrodes
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Movement
  • Nanotechnology / methods
  • Nanotubes, Carbon / chemistry*
  • Pressure
  • Prosthesis Design*
  • Silicon / chemistry*
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Skin, Artificial*
  • Temperature
  • Touch Perception


  • Nanotubes, Carbon
  • Silicon