Researchers have a created ultrathin and ultraflexible protective film that can be placed on skin and connected to electronics.
Ever imagined laminating electronics on your skin? If yes, then this may be a device for you. Japanese researchers have created an ultrathin, flexible e-skin that can be affixed to an arm, face or any other part of body and connects your body to various wearable sensors that can measure your blood oxygen level or heart rate etc.
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Integrating electronic devices with human body for training and health purposes is an idea that has been around for a while. But most of the wearable devices that are designed for these purposes are not thick or flexible enough to be remain attached with the parts of the body and work efficiently. Most of the electronic devices developed so far have required millimeter-scale thickness glass or plastic substrates with limited flexibility and with these features they have not been able to survive in the air.
“What would the world be like if we had displays that could adhere to our bodies and even show our emotions or level of stress or unease?” said Professor Takao Someya from University of Tokyo. “In addition to not having to carry a device with us all times, they might enhance the way we interact with those around us at all times or add a whole new dimension to how we communicate.”
The newly developed skin is actually a high-quality protective film that is less than two micrometers thick and ultra flexible with an ability to easily support an electronic device. The e-skin is made of a combination of organic and inorganic material and successfully blocks passage of oxygen and water vapor in the air. Thus, makes the device more durable and helps it survive several days instead of few hours. More significantly, researchers have been able to embed transparent indium tin oxide (ITO) electrodes to this protective layer which has made e-skin display possible. The skin is flexible enough to survive hundreds of crumples and stretches in response to body movements, while being thin enough to stay on the body.
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Researchers have also demonstrated how a blood oxygen sensor can work by combining green and red polymer light-emitting diodes (PLEDs) and organic photodetectors (OPDs).