People Innovation Excellence

Electronic Skin Lights Up When Touched


A team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, has developed the first user-interactive “electronic skin” that responds to pressure by instantly emitting light.

“The goal is to use human skin as a model and develop new types of electronics that would enable us to interface with our environment in new ways,” explains Ali Javey, an electrical engineering and computer science professor at Berkeley and leader of the e-skin research team.

The electronic skin is made up of a network of sensors placed on thin plastic substrates that can spatially and temporarily map pressure. Javey describes the network as an array of 16 by 16 pixels, each one equipped with a carbon-nanotube thin-film transistor (TFT), a pressure sensor, and an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) on top. When the sensor detects touch, the TFT powers up the OLED, which then emits red, green, or blue light. The harder the pressure, the brighter the light will be. The end product is a thin, flexible material that can be placed on top of all sorts of surfaces. [Read More]

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