A flexible electronic skin, or e-skin, lights up instantly in response to touch.

A team led by Ali Javey at the University of California, Berkeley, manufactured the e-skin by layering carbon nanotube transistors, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and pressure sensors. The authors made a 3.5- by 3-centimetre patch of e-skin that lights up where pressure is applied — the higher the local pressure, the brighter the LEDs. The researchers suggest that the technology could be modified to respond to sensations other than pressure and may have applications in interactive displays, robotics and health monitoring.

Nature Mater. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmat3711 (2013)