A bimodal soft electronic skin for tactile and touchless interaction in real time

Nat Commun. 2019 Sep 27;10(1):4405. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12303-5.


The emergence of smart electronics, human friendly robotics and supplemented or virtual reality demands electronic skins with both tactile and touchless perceptions for the manipulation of real and virtual objects. Here, we realize bifunctional electronic skins equipped with a compliant magnetic microelectromechanical system able to transduce both tactile-via mechanical pressure-and touchless-via magnetic fields-stimulations simultaneously. The magnetic microelectromechanical system separates electric signals from tactile and touchless interactions into two different regions, allowing the electronic skins to unambiguously distinguish the two modes in real time. Besides, its inherent magnetic specificity overcomes the interference from non-relevant objects and enables signal-programmable interactions. Ultimately, the magnetic microelectromechanical system enables complex interplay with physical objects enhanced with virtual content data in augmented reality, robotics, and medical applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Electricity
  • Electromagnetic Phenomena
  • Electronics / instrumentation
  • Electronics / methods
  • Humans
  • Magnetics
  • Robotics
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*
  • Touch Perception / physiology*
  • Touch*
  • Transducers
  • Wearable Electronic Devices*