These “Skin Electronics” Can Transmit Biometrics to the Cloud

New soft, flexible skin display designed to mimic the functionality of biological skin.

With the rate of enhancements in the field of wearable tech growing, in particular with touch sensing and stretchy bio skin technology, we’ve got some good news for you from the research front. New enhancements are making it easier to mimic the functionality of biological skin thanks to Professor Takao Someya from the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering. They announced, at AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, their latest research by a Japanese academic-industrial collaboration.

Skin Electronics
Consisting of a 16 x 24 array of micro LEDs and stretchable wiring, the soft, flexible skin display is about a millimetre thick and mounted on a rubber sheet. By as much as 45 percent of its original length, the bio skin can withstand repeated stretching, without showing any loss in function of its electrical or mechanical properties. Image Credit: Takao Someya Research Group.

New Interfaces for Wearable Tech & Fashion Tech

Wearable technology today has made it possible to track biometric data but for some people, the existing interfaces and devices aren’t necessarily making things easier. When you think of the elderly for instance or even people with prosthetics, there is still a lot of ground to gain. When operating and obtaining data could be less strained for these groups there could be a great benefit for home self-care systems immediately adding more accuracy in measuring vital signs and other medical data for any diagnostic purposes.

The new research presented by Professor Takao Someya showed how an integrated biomedical sensor system with an ultrathin elastic display, called “skin electronics,” can transfer key biometrics to the cloud with the help of a flexible screen-like, lightweight sensor composed of a breathable nanomesh electrode and a wireless communication module mounted on a rubber sheet.

Image Credit: Takao Someya Research Group. This integrated “skin electronics” system will enable health monitoring at the home and besides that, give doctors a good reason to embrace electronic skin technology. It will also enable them to have remote access to more accurate biometrics it would be wirelessly transferred to the cloud.

To be able to create compelling types of wearable technology and useful medical use cases in this area, it was fundamental that they integrated sensitive sensors that can flex and even stretch without changing their electronic properties. This, in turn, ensures that the wearable devices are able to offer value in terms of fashion tech design. In the case of Professor Someya’s work, the enhancements mean that a device can now monitor health by measuring biometrics or taking an electrocardiogram and then transfer the data to a smartphone wirelessly. 

On the wearable tech collaboration between researchers at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering and Dai Nippon Printing (DNP), a leading Japanese printing company, Someya shared, Our skin display exhibits simple graphics with motion because it is made from thin and soft materials, it can be deformed freely.” He continues, “The current ageing society requires user-friendly wearable sensors for monitoring patient vitals in order to reduce the burden on patients and family members providing nursing care.”

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