Solar-Powered ‘Electronic Skin’ Would Add a Sense of Touch to Artificial Limbs

IEEE Spectrum: Solar-Powered Graphene Skin Enables Prosthetics to Feel

Cochlear implants can restore hearing to individuals with some types of hearing loss. Retinal implants are now on the market to restore sight to the blind. But there are no commercially available prosthetics that restore a sense of touch to those who have lost a limb.

Several products are in development, including this haptic system at Case Western Reserve University, which would enable upper-limb prosthetic users to, say, pluck a grape off a stem or pull a potato chip out of a bag. It sounds simple, but such tasks are virtually impossible without a sense of touch and pressure.

Now, a team at the University of Glasgow that previously developed a flexible ‘electronic skin’ capable of making sensitive pressure measurements, has figured out how to power their skin with sunlight. That renewable energy could be used to power an array of sensors to add feeling to an artificial limb, the authors describe this month in Advanced Functional Materials.

Gizmodo: Elon Musk’s Cryptic Art Suggests Unicorn Fart-Powered Teslas

Enigmatic entrepreneur Elon Musk has no shortage of hobbies: sometimes, he makes cars. Other times, he likes to do a space thing or play Martian overlord. But now, the 45-year-old billionaire is turning his attention to the arts, as evidenced by a series of cryptic drawings he created using Tesla’s new sketchpad feature, which is accessible once users download the 8.1 software update for the car’s touchscreen. More impressive than the art itself, however, is the fact that Musk is using it to hint at the next wave of Tesla technology: unicorn fart-powered vehicles.

Sure, it sounds outlandish, but Musk has proven time and again that the uncomfortable is his comfort zone. After all, isn’t it unbelievable enough that grown adults would feel compelled to use their car — which is typically used for driving — as a sketchpad? Blurring the lines between utility and complete uselessness is something Musk is clearly looking to explore, as evidenced by these creations, which he tweeted last night.

Forbes: VW Is About to Supercharge The Electric Car Market. So Why Is California Complaining?

State officials, including members of the California Air Resources Board, which negotiated the settlement along with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, want Volkswagen to direct funding to neighborhoods in poor communities like Fresno, Bakersfield, San Bernardino and East Los Angeles, where the air is dirtiest and EVs are practically non-existent. Instead, critics say, VW's plan favors wealthy cities and gives the giant carmaker a strategic advantage over smaller competitors.

In a blog post this week, CARB member Dean Florez, a former state senator and now public relations executive, accused VW of “trying to weasel out of its responsibility to make good for damaging the lungs of low-income residents who were forced to breathe unlawful exhausts spewing from their modified diesel engines.”

Mother Jones: The EPA Just Accidentally Told the Truth About Trump's Climate Plan

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump visited the Environmental Protection Agency, where he signed an executive order dismantling key Obama-era policies aimed at fighting climate change. On Thursday morning, the EPA sent out a press release highlighting some wonderful praise that Trump's order has received from groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, and — of course — Republican politicians. But the top quote in the EPA's email, attributed to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), had an unexpected message.

Bloomberg: Trump Closely Watching Troubled Nuclear Plants That Obama Funded

As Southern Co. opens a review of its troubled nuclear reactors following a bankruptcy filing by contractor Westinghouse Electric Co., the Trump administration has 8.3 billion reasons to be worried.

Southern is financing the reactors with $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees approved under President Barack Obama’s initiative to build the first new nuclear plants in the U.S. in 30 years. Now, following delays and cost overruns, financial troubles at Toshiba Corp. unit Westinghouse have put the taxpayers’ interest at risk, along with the fate of the projects.

The government “has issued a loan guarantee to one of the stakeholders involved, and for that and other important reasons, we are keenly interested in the bankruptcy proceedings and what they mean for taxpayers and the nation,” said Lindsey Geisler, a U.S. Energy Department spokeswoman. “We expect the parties to honor their commitments and reach an agreement that protects taxpayers.”

from GTM Solar https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/solar-powered-electronic-skin-would-add-a-sense-of-touch-to-artificial-limb

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