NOVO NORDISK FOUNDATION-SPONSORED VISITING SCHOLAR FELLOWSHIP RESEARCH PROJECT - 2022
Visiting Scholar: Margherita Ronchini (Aarhus University)
Stanford Faculty Advisor: Zhenan Bao (Chemical Engineering)
iSkin - Intelligent Skin: neuromorphic-enabled multi-modal tactile sensing
The loss of a limb has serious implications, on a practical and social level. Prosthetic technologies are continuously improved and refined, yet they still lag behind their biological counterparts in terms of complex motor control. Touch interaction can ameliorate motor control by providing the user with information about the external environment and the effect produced by movement. Commercially available models are not equipped with any tactile-sensing systems, so they force the patients to rely solely on visual input to control the motor command, leading to cognitive fatigue.
Margherita's project targets the development of an intelligent artificial sensory system (iSkin) for the restoration of the sense of touch. The wearable interface includes a bio-inspired skin capable of monitoring different kinds of stimuli (pressorial, thermal, chemical), a computing unit imitating the processing strategies of the brain, and a stimulation back-end to activate the residual peripheral fibers. The development of iSkin will find applications within robotics and prosthetics, benefit remote surgery, and provide a solution for the replacement of the sense of touch in burn victims.