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Electronic skin has gained attention for its unique capability of detecting
subtle pressure changes
Important for safe robotic interaction
An electronic skin should have distributed sensors and should have
distributed to process the distributed sensory data.
Electronic skin is defined as set of multiple electronic and sensing
components such as touch and temperature sensors,displays,energy
scvengers and electronics etc integrated on a flexible or bendable substrates.

Bendability of electronics has its own share of challenges which range

from fabricating various functional components directly on the flexible
substrates to developing sensitive systems that are efficiently used in target
These challenges are also compounded by lack of suitable technologies.
A variety of approaches and designs are being pursued to overcome this
challenge and to develop an effective electronic skin.

E-Skin working principle

The core technology of the sensor material is a vast
network of semiconductor nanowires.

These nanowires are made from the elements

germanium and silicon, which are rolled onto a
polyimide base. This forms a substrate for a rubber
film that, when pressure is applied, change

Change in material thickness is electrically measured

through transistors and capacitors.

Temperature sensors are used for

measuring the temperature
Strain gauges are used for measuring
the signals generated by the heart.
Antenna is used for transmitting the recorded signals of the skin to
the receiver.

Various approaches:
a)Electronic skin using off the shelf electronics and sensing
Off the shelf electronics and sensing components are soldered to bendable
printed circuit board route
These solutions are akin to having mechanically integrated but otherwise
distinct and stiff subcircuit islands of off the shelf electronic components,
connected to one another by metallic interconnects.
The semi rigid flexible pcb based skin patches conform to surface with large

Further extension of this approach is severely affected by off the shelf

electronics,which are not bendable.
The research on large area on this type of skin has opened new research
areas in robotics, where areas contact with the object is exploited to plan
robotic movements

b)Printing of active/passive Electronic and sensing

In this case sensors are directly printed on flexible substrate.
The other approaches for obtaining active electronics and sensing
components directly on flexible substrates include printing or transferring the
basic building blocks like nanowires and ribbons of graphene ,silicon etc to
flexible substrates.
This method involves fabricating silicon microstructure using standard
photolithography and dry wet etching followed by transferring oriented
arrays of these microstructures to receiver substrate like polyimide using
PDMS as carrier.

Integration of graphene into skin like electronic/optoelectronic device find

applications ranging from new generation temp/pressure sensors to optoelectronics.

c)Ultra thin flexible chips

Electronic chips that are normally realized on planar and brittle silicon wafers
cannot be integrated well on curved surfaces such as body of a humanoid
Lack of bendability leads to underutilization of many noval schemes.This
was the case for POSFET tactile sensing chips.
Research on ultra thin flexible chip is a step towards obtaining flexible
POSFET tactile sensing chips.
The flex chips are obtained by chemically thinning down the silicon and then
transferring the chips to polyimide foils.

Fabrication steps:
The wafer is first thinned by back-side chemical etching, and
adhered to a carrier substrate, which in present case is PDMS film
present on another wafer.
The wafer is then diced and bulk silicon is removed, leaving
behind only the membranes on PDMS.
The membranes are transferred to the polyimide (PI) foil
present on yet another wafer. After transferring the membranes to the PI,
the left over PDMS is removed and finally, the PI foil with membranes is
released from the wafer.

Polyimide foils provide beneficial properties, like good thermal and

dimensional stability, resulting in a finer interconnection pitch and
better reliability.
The flexchip approach has potential to open up new avenues for
heterogeneous integration of organic and inorganic semiconductor
based electronics.


The E-Skin Sensors Can Be Fixed to the Skin Like Temporary Tattoos

Health monitoring(EEG,ECG)

In the field of robotics.



Reduses wires

Compact in size,less in weight

The device is flexible

Cost is high
Single use


In future even virtual screens may be placed on the device

to know our body functions.

This work presented the complementary research towards highperformance flexible electronic, especially towards obtaining electronic
The e-skin approaches presented here are based on:
a) soldering the off-the shelf electronic and sensing components on
flexible PCBs
b) printing of passive components directly on flexible substrates
c) ultra-thin silicon chips (flexchips).
These approaches are used to develop various components of e-skin and
ultimately the e-skin will be obtained by using a mix of these approaches

http://www.npr.org/2011/08/12/139579614/electro nic- skin-monitors-brain-heartactivity
http://news.discovery.com/tech/ultrathin-device- detects-brain-signals110811.html
http://www.voanews.com/english/news/health/El ectronic-Skin-Monitors-HeartBrain-Function- 127726623.html
sensor technology and devices by Ljubisa Ristic