New Electronic Skin Patch Wirelessly Transmits Biological Activity

An international team of scientists have developed a new material called epidermal electronics than can be placed on a patient’s skin similar to a temporary tattoo.

The material is formed into an array of electronic sensors and transmitters capable of reading information from within the body and its organs.

The material is unique in that the sensors and electronic components such as diodes and resistors are shrunk to a very small and subtle size.  The circuit board itself is composed of a stretchy rubbery matrix that mimics the skin itself so its hugs the surface very gently and non invasively.  Like a temporary tattoo its base is first wet then rubbed on.

The device can stay attached for more than 24 hours anywhere on the body.

In what is basically a demonstration of principle, the researchers crammed demonstration devices with many different types of sensors.

Examples included components that could read the cardiac rhythm and others that could recognize spoken words from a location in the throat.  Signals are wirelessly transmitted to  local base station and energy for transmission is obtained from embedded solar cells.

This technology in the future could offer rich interactions between human biology and computers, perhaps one day even becoming able to sense enzymatic activity in cells and rich neural activity in the brain.

Source (Science Magazine)

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