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Institutes of Technology Ireland
Research & Innovation

Artificial Skin for Injection Technique Training

Altay Scientific is a global leader in the manufacture of equipment for scientific and medical education. Their product range includes human skin simulators for the training of nurses and medical students. Good injection techniques are best learned through practice and Altay’s human skin simulators aim to enable students to practice injections in a safe but realistic environment. As a result, skin simulators should be as life-like as possible, both physically and visually.

Materials used in manufacturing human skin simulators often do not exhibit the same physical and mechanical properties as actual human skin. They are also complex and expensive to manufacture. Altay Scientific wished to investigate new materials that would provide a closer match to human skin coupled with a cost-effective manufacturing process.

Led by Dr. Clement Higginbotham, the Materials Research Institute is based at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and has significant expertise in the development, synthesis and characterisation of novel polymer materials. Altay Scientific engaged in a 2 year collaborative research project with the Materials Research Institute, jointly supported by Enterprise Ireland. The project focused on the development of innovative materials that would replicate certain elastic and tactile characteristics of human skin. These characteristics included colour, appearance, texture and resistance to puncture. The research identified and characterised a number of thermoplastic polymers that exhibited the desired characteristics of human skin. The most appropriate silicon-based polymeric material was selected and the research team explored various modifications to the manufacturing process.

The research and development resulted in a realistic skin simulator that surpasses those previously available on the market. The company is currently filing a patent application to protect the innovative material that has been identified. The modified manufacturing process will help overcome the budgetary constraints normally associated with the manufacture of human skin simulators. Additional impacts of the partnership include the transfer of knowledge in materials to Altay Scientific that will potentially inform new products.

Testimonials

"I can only say that AIT have exceeded our expectations in all respects. They are extremely capable from an academic and an applications point of view. They have proved themselves to be able to work with external academic institutions, whilst still remaining focused on the core expectations of the project."
Vincent English, Managing Director, Altay Scientific

Client: Altay Scientific
Institution:
Athlone Institute of Technology
Industry: Medical Devices
National Priority Area: Process Technology and Novel Materials

Industry Programmes Manager
Breda Lynch
Office of Research
Athlone Institute of Technology
Dublin Road
Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Ireland
T: +353 (0)90 648 3041
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Director, Materials Research Institute
Dr. Clement Higginbotham

Athlone Institute of Technology
Dublin Road
Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Ireland
T: +353 (0)90 642 4463
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.