We are surrounded by the Earth's magnetic field, but we do not feel it. To give us this new extra feeling, a group of German scientists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) research laboratory has developed a special e-skin.
In their opinion, it became "the bionic analogue of the compass." It is based on a silver polymer film with a thickness of 1/1000 mm.
According to the team's leading specialist Gilbert Santiago Canyon Bermudez, magnetic field sensors are integrated into the film, which are sensitive to changes taking place in it. We are talking about values of the order of 40-60 microtesla, which is 1000 times weaker than the field of a souvenir magnet on a refrigerator.
Previous versions of e-skin did not work without external magnets. Now, thanks to sensors, the user has the ability to constantly determine his position in space relative to the Earth's magnetic field. Sensors instantly respond to changes in position, capture movements and digitize them for action in virtual reality.
For testing outside the laboratory, the researchers attached electrical sensors to electronic skin so that higher voltages were applied to the north pole and less to the south. By attaching the sensor to a finger, the tester was able to move in space in the same way as he would with a conventional compass.
The new e-skin has many uses, including medical, to help patients suffering from disorientation, especially those with Alzheimer's disease.