The E-Skin : a new tech with multiple possibility !
A team of Japanese researchers from the University of Tokyo led by professors Takao Someya and Tomoyuki Yokota created expandable, ultra-thin and breathable electronic skin that can measure and display information using micro-LEDs.
What are the characteristics of this “electronic skin”?
Since 2016, these Japanese researchers are working on this transparent electronic film of only 3 micrometers thick and stretchable. This electronic skin is equipped with a display system based on light-emitting diode polymer that can stick on the skin and display vital constants. This E-skin combines both the smoothness and flexibility necessary for comfort of use but also has a lifetime of several days.
According to the researchers, this e-skin, which can measure different constants, is flexible enough to conform to the movements of the body and its material being breathable, it can be worn continuously for a week without causing inflammation.
The potential applications of this e-skin are multiple!
In previous versions, this e-skin could measure constants such as pulse rate, oxygen level in the blood, body temperature, blood pressure or myoelectric activity of the muscles. But now it can also display as a screen would do an electrocardiogram and other simple animations in real time.
Professor Takao Someya believes that a marketable version could be ready within three years. This innovation could have many applications, particularly in the field of health and sports. Indeed, this screen on skin could apply in medical surveillance and especially that of seniors by providing a solution for monitoring their vital functions minimally invasive. But this innovation could also go further since it could be used in the context of surgery by being directly applied to organs to monitor constants during and after the operation. This innovation could even result in replacing certain devices including smartphones. Indeed, for example when someone is going to practice sports, he could simply stick his heart rate monitor to the skin without needing a connected watch or bracelet to measure his performance.
This e-skin is not yet fully developed and raises some questions including that of data protection in relation to the transfer of measured data to a medical cloud or in relation to privacy to know if the system is not too intrusive. However, this innovation could have many interesting and useful applications.