BAE's latest brainstorm: smart skin for aircraft

We've seen a lot of cool things from BAE, including its "battle bots" from a couple years ago, the aircraft that transforms into a single unit, and e-ink camouflage, to name a few. Never resting, the defense firm has cooked up its latest idea: a smart skin for planes that allows them to "feel".

The so-called smart skin is being developed by the firm's Advanced Technology Center, which envisions "tens of thousands" of tiny sensors that pull data on things like temperature, the wind speed, movement, and more. This gathered information, at least in concept, will be more accurate that what you get with present tech.

With these sensors, the current health of the plane will be constantly monitored, and in addition to revealing possible issues, the speed of safety evaluations and part replacement could be boosted. The overall increase in efficiency would then bring its own perks, including getting the aircraft back into service faster.

The sensors BAE has in mind can be as small as dust, and may at some point be retrofitted onto existing planes, giving them a safety boost. Interestingly enough, BAE says that application could involve spraying the sensors onto the plane like paint. Of course, this is all concept at this point, with research ongoing.