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A skin-inspired organic digital mechanoreceptor

  • Author(s): Tee, BCK
  • Chortos, A
  • Berndt, A
  • Nguyen, AK
  • Tom, A
  • McGuire, A
  • Lin, ZC
  • Tien, K
  • Bae, WG
  • Wang, H
  • Mei, P
  • Chou, HH
  • Cui, B
  • Deisseroth, K
  • Ng, TN
  • Bao, Z
  • et al.
Abstract

Human skin relies on cutaneous receptors that output digital signals for tactile sensing in which the intensity of stimulation is converted to a series of voltage pulses. We present a power-efficient skin-inspired mechanoreceptor with a flexible organic transistor circuit that transduces pressure into digital frequency signals directly. The output frequency ranges between 0 and 200 hertz, with a sublinear response to increasing force stimuli that mimics slow-adapting skin mechanoreceptors. The output of the sensors was further used to stimulate optogenetically engineered mouse somatosensory neurons of mouse cortex in vitro, achieving stimulated pulses in accordance with pressure levels. This work represents a step toward the design and use of large-area organic electronic skins with neural-integrated touch feedback for replacement limbs.

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