BAE's had another mad brainstorming session, this time developing the concept of a "smart skin" for airplanes to help them "feel" their surroundings and detect damage.

Engineers from BAE's Advanced Technology Centre are testing the idea of embedding "tens of thousands of micro-sensors" into an airplane skin that, once applied, could give a pilot more accurate data on things like wind speed, temperature and any physical strain being placed on the plane.


The sensors are so small they could potentially be sprayed on like paint, allowing the easy retrofitting of older planes. Once on, they would run themselves via their own power sources and relay data back to flight computers "in much the same way that human skin sends signals to the brain," according to BAE.

Obviously airplane skin is some way from being a real thing—but it'll be interesting to see if or how it gets put to use.


This post originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, which is gobbling up the news in a different timezone


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