A new development reported by the University of Tokyo could help integrate electronics with the human skin in an unprecedented manner. The concept, being called the ‘e-skin’, essentially helps convert one’s skin into a digital screen. The researchers are trying to do so by using an ultrathin layer that will act as ‘electronic skin’ and display information about key health and fitness parameters. Athletes, for instance, can monitor their heart rate and blood oxygen levels using the device.
The team that has developed the e-skin demonstrated its use with an OLED display. With the integration of electronic devices with the body several new biomedical applications could now emerge. Researchers across the world are looking to go a step ahead of electronic wearables and embed electronics in the human body to enable better interaction between machines and humans.
However, that’s not an easy task considering that wearable electronics need to be extremely flexible, thin, and not be rejected by the body. Moreover, it is imperative that such electronics are attached to the body with minimal impact.
Safe materials with millimeter-scale thickness have thus become the focus of researchers. In this regard, the key challenge faced by researchers has cropped up during the development of plastic substrates or glass that has thickness in the millimeter range but is still flexible enough and demonstrates stability when exposed to air.
What Can e-Skin Do?
The e-skin has been created using a protective film, which was developed by Professors Tomoyuki Yokota and Takao Someya, measures less than two micrometers in thickness and is ultraflexible. Besides the e-skin, the material can also be used in next-generation electronic devices and displays.
With the e-skin, it would be possible to display your emotions or your current stress levels via the flexible display that adheres to the body. The e-skin could also mean that people will have to carry fewer electronic devices and help improve the way we interact with the world. In short, it could create a whole new of communicating with people.