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Human touch can detect even molecular differences

Human touch can detect even molecular differences
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The human touch is sensitive enough to feel the difference between surfaces that vary by just a single layer of molecules, according to scientists...

Los Angeles: The human touch is sensitive enough to feel the difference between surfaces that vary by just a single layer of molecules, according to scientists including one of Indian origin. Humans can easily feel the difference between many everyday surfaces such as glass, metal, wood and plastic.

That is because these surfaces have different textures or draw heat away from the finger at different rates. However, researchers wanted to study if humans could detect the difference if they changed only the topmost layer of molecules.

"This is the greatest tactile sensitivity that has ever been shown in humans," said Darren Lipomi, a professor at University of California (UC) San Diego in the US.

"Receptors processing sensations from our skin are phylogenetically the most ancient, but far from being primitive they have had time to evolve extraordinarily subtle strategies for discerning surfaces," said V S Ramachandran, from UC San Diego.

"This study is one of the first to demonstrate the range of sophistication and exquisite sensitivity of tactile sensations. It paves the way, perhaps, for a whole new approach to tactile psychophysics," Ramachandran said.

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