Pain may not be pleasant, but it is needed for survival. A complicated protection device, pain is the body’s way of letting us know that something’s incorrect and that we should take an immediate response to avoid destruction. It can cause pain-avoiding responses without will or conscious control through reflexes, for example when we feel something hot.

Now, specialists at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have invented a manufactured skin that mimics this device and reacts to pain stimuli. They used silicone rubber to make it; it has the function of actual skin and is also very relative to the skin in its structural features, mentions Madhu Bhaskaran, an engineering professor at RMIT University and the project’s head researcher. It could start innovative developments in robotics and prosthetics.

Similar to the actual skin, the manufactured version is made to respond when pressure, heat or cold exceed a pain threshold. Its surface layers sandwich electronic circuits studded with sensors, which act to stimuli. According to Bhaskaran, the fascinating thing about our body is that it operates by sending electrical signs into the central nervous system.