National

An e-skin for victims of burns and acid attacks

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 09, 2018


An e-skin (artificial electronic skin), which can ease the pain and restore the looks of victims of burns and acid attacks, has been developed by the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad researchers.

The low-cost product, made of natural rubber, is biodegradable. By fabricating it in a sterile environment without the use of sophisticated equipment, the IIT team lead by Sushmee Badhulika has been able to design it at an affordable cost.

The e-skin, assembled with carbon nanotubes, sensors etc mimics and behaves exactly like the human skin. In demonstration studies, the IIT has shown that it integrates with different body parts such as neck, palm, wrist etc to cover burns or other skin damage. “Irrespective of the body part, the electric signal that makes the product live can be easily generated,” said Badhulika of the Department of Electrical Engineering.

Globally, there are several products in the market, but the sophisticated processes in manufacture make them costly. Plastic surgery, which is normally resorted by victims of burns, is also expensive.

The indigenously developed product will be hugely beneficial to acid attack and burn victims where a part of the skin is permanently damaged and loses functionality, Badhulika told BusinessLine. E-skin can be tailor-made to the needs of the patient. It has sensors, carbon nano tubes structures that ensure it is flexible and wearable while being bio-compatible.

The IIT team is the first to use natural rubber or eraser-based eco-friendly fabrication of a skin-like large area matrix of flexible carbon nanotube strain and pressure sensors. The group is focussed on developing nano sensors on flexible substates for a multitude of applications in personal healthcare and safety, Badhulika explained.

In recognition of the work, the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) selected her work for the Young Engineer Award (below 45 years) this year.

Published on November 14, 2017

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