Epidermal Electronic System Will Make Wearable Technologies A Reality
An epidermal electronic system (EES) is a discovery that could change the world of electronics forever, blurring the borders between electronics and biology. The team of researchers led by the engineers John Rogers and Todd Coleman have recently developed EES, an electronic circuit fixed on your skin, designed to take input from the movements of your body. When this circuitry is fitted on on a thin, rubber substrate with elastic properties similar to skin, the result is a flexible patch that can bend and twist, or expand and contract without influencing electronic performance. The patch (comprised of the circuitry and rubber substrate) is first mounted on a thin sheet of water-soluble plastic, then applied to the skin with water like a temporary tattoo. Researchers demonstrate the concept’s functionality in a wide range of electronic components, including biometric sensors, LEDs, transistors, radio frequency capacitors, wireless antennas, conductive coils and solar cells for power. The most promising applications for the new technology is in the field of medicine. According to Rogers, the electronic skin has already been shown to monitor patients’ health measurements as effectively as conventional; the precision of the measurement is equal to the best existing technology. The patches EES are already scarcely noticeable, but when mounted directly onto a temporary tattoo, for example, any evidence of electronic circuitry disappears. This technology, namely its discrete tattoo-like appearance, might be also used in secret military operations where an agent could communicate to the command station with these electric signals without uttering a word.