A sensitive plastic can heal itself. A material that can register touches and is able to autonomously repair damages.
Via the combination of plastic with conducting metal particles it was possible to create a flexible material which might be used for the development of new surfaces (e.g. skin of androids or touchscreens).
The material can repair damages within minutes without any structural loss. A trimmed piece was after 10 minutes mechanically totally intact again and regained after 30 minutes it original electrical properties. Even after the 50th round of damaging and self-healing the piece kept being mechanical intact as nothing happened at all.
The recipe of this artificial skin is a combination of plastic with nickle particles. The flexible base substance forms Oligomeres which are connected via hydrogen bonds on their ends. If they will be for instance separated by a cut, they are able to reattach to each other by annealing. The self-healing capability is based on this dynamic binding: On introduction of a fissure or a cut, the material reorganizes itself at room temperature and rebuilds a stable network.
The secret of this sensitivity lays in the plastic embedded nickle nanoparticles, which give the material its conductivity. If the artificial skin is deformed it changes the distance of the metal particle to each other, which in turn the changes conductivity and can be detected.
This kind of material has a enormous potential to create touch-sensitive and self-healing constructions [http://www.wissenschaft.de/wissenschaft/news/316396.html; http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nnano.2012.192.html].