Skip to main content

‘Stretchable electronics’ mimic elasticity of the skin

by Futures Centre, Jul 19
2 minutes read

The use of electronics in measuring and monitoring human bodily function is already widespread in medical care, and personal data apps are proliferating. But how well can these electronics adapt to the dynamism of our bodies? After all, we come in all shapes and sizes, and our internal organs move and grow.

ec

A new technology is being developed to respond to this challenge: stretchable electronics. This could lead to many more applications in the health industry, and enable better monitoring and more targeted and appropriate treatment.

The design – pioneered by materials scientist John Rogers of the University of Illinois, USA, and being commercialized by a company called MC10 – mimics the natural elasticity of the skin. The malleable product is 50-micrometers ‘thin’, with an adhesive polymer back, very similar in appearance to a medical plaster or band-aid, allowing for organic freedom of movement. The interface can expand and contract in line with organic bodily shifts, thus rendering the body almost unable to sense it, while retaining its technological integrity and performance. The potential scope for utilizing this technology is vast: it has already been used to detect chemicals in sweat, and for monitoring heart and muscle activity.

The technology combines the use of new stretchable polymers, gold electrodes, nanotechnology and smart phones to combine the medical technology with the constantly evolving information technology sphere, allowing individuals to monitor their own symptoms or progress. The stretchable hardware itself is cheap to produce, utilizing basic components such as electrodes and rechargeable batteries (depending on its role). The data collection and analysis is tackled later when the information is sent to smartphones and/or computers.

Details

by Futures Centre Spotted 1927 signals

Have you spotted a signal of change?

Register to receive the latest from the Futures Centre.
Sign up

  • 0
  • 0
  • Share

Related signals

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page.

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. For more information on how these cookies work, please see our 'Cookies page'.

>