"Our response time is comparable with human skin, it's very, very fast, within milliseconds, or thousandths of a second," Bao told AFP. "That means in real terms that we can feel the pressure instantaneously."
Bao added important caveats about the challenges ahead.
One is about improving the new sensors. They respond to constant pressure, whereas in human skin more complex sensations are possible.
This is because the pressure-sensing cells in the skin can send different frequencies of signal -- for instance, when we feel something painful or sharp, the frequency increases, alerting us to the threat.
In addition, Bao warned, "connecting the artificial skin with the human nerve system will be a very challenging task."
"Ultimately, in the very distant future, we would like to make a skin which performs really like human skin and to be able to connect it to nerve cells on the arm and thus restore sensation.
"Initially, the prototype that we envision would be more like a handheld device, or maybe a device that connects to other parts of the body that have skin sensation.