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Smart fingertips may help surgeons' sense of touch


New smart fingertips may lead to advancements in surgical gloves.


John Rogers/University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Smart fingertips have been created by nanoengineers that may one day lead to advanced surgical gloves.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University and Dalian University of Technology, sought to mimic the sensations felt by fingertips using semiconductors.

The study created a flexible circuitboard worn over the fingertips with layers of electrodes.

According to Wired, those wearing the glove receive tingling sensations from small voltage applied to the skin.

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The point is to augment the sensation of the fingertips and make it better at sensing temperature and resistance, said Medical Daily.

In order to test the electric fingertips, researchers pressed the gloves into flat objects, sending electric currents into the skin to create a tingling sensation.

The researchers say that creating gloves that augment sensation in the fingertips could be an important advancement for surgeons who need to make precision movements.

"Imagine the ability to sense the electrical properties of tissue, and then locally remove that tissue, precisely by local ablation, all via the fingertips using smart surgical gloves. Alternatively, or perhaps in addition, ultrasound imaging could be possible," said study co-author John Rogers, according to Product Design and Development

The findings were published in the journal Nanotechnology.