The researchers laminated the new prosthetic skin embedded with electronics onto a prosthetic hand.

They found that the skin could survive complex operations, such as shaking hands, tapping keyboards, grasping baseballs, holding hot or cold drinks, touching dry or wet diapers and touching other people.

The electronic skin proved to be as sensitive as expected to pressure, stretching, temperature and dampness, successfully relaying data rapidly and reliably, the researchers said.

"Human skin is elastic, soft and warm. Our device has such properties," said study co-author Dae-Hyeong Kim, a biomedical engineer at Seoul National University in South Korea.

The new skin is exceptionally sensitive, and can sense a wide variety of data, such as information on temperature, humidity, stretching and pressure, the researchers said.

It could help lead to "prosthetic devices for patients who lost arms, legs or skin," Kim added.

The new skin uses sensors made of silicon ribbons that have a wavy, snake-like shape. This shape lets the sensors withstand more strain - that is, stretching – without breaking, and allows them to measure a greater range of data, media reported.

The scientists also combined the electronic skin with an array of stretchable platinum electrodes that would stimulate nerves to relay sensor data to the brain.

These electrodes were coated with microscopic particles of cerium oxide to help control the inflammation that such electrodes can trigger in the body.     

In experiments with rats, the researchers showed this electrode array could transmit data about the pressure of a touch to the brain.

The findings are detailed in the journal Nature Communications.

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