Electronic Skin to Feel "pain": Detecting "prick" and "hot" Pain Sensations

Minkyung Sim, Kyung Hwa Lee, Kwon Sik Shin, Jeong Hee Shin, Ji Woong Choi, Hongsoo Choi, Cheil Moon, Hyun Sik Kim, Yuljae Cho, Seung Nam Cha, Jae Eun Jung, Jung Inn Sohn, Jae Eun Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


An artificial tactile system has attracted tremendous interest and intensive study, since it can be applied as a new functional interface between humans and electronic devices. Unfortunately, most previous works focused on improving the sensitivity of sensors. However, humans also respond to psychological feelings for sensations such as pain, softness, or roughness, which are important factors for interacting with others and objects. Here, we present an electronic skin concept that generates a "pain" warning signal, specifically, to sharp "prick" and "hot" sensations. To simplify the sensor structure for these two feelings, a single-body tactile sensor design is proposed. By exploiting "hot" feeling based on the Seebeck effect instead of the pyroelectric property, it is possible to distinguish points registering a "hot" feeling from those generating a "prick" feeling, which is based on the piezoelectric effect. The control of free carrier concentration in nanowire induced the appropriate level of Seebeck current, which enabled the sensor system to be more reliable. The first derivatives of the piezo and Seebeck output signals are the key factors for the signal processing of the "pain" feeling. The main idea can be applied to mimic other psychological tactile feelings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-759
Number of pages15
JournalSoft Robotics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Seebeck effect
  • ZnO nanowire
  • artificial pain feeling
  • electronic skin
  • piezoelectric effect
  • pyroelectric effect
  • tactile sensor


Dive into the research topics of 'Electronic Skin to Feel "pain": Detecting "prick" and "hot" Pain Sensations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this