Thursday, August 11, 2011

Invention of the Day: Epidermal Electronics

Science Magazine reports on research that found an invisible way to attach electronics to the skin:

Known as epidermal electronics, they can be applied in a similar way to a temporary tattoo: you simply place it on your skin and rub it on with water (see video). The devices can even be hidden under actual temporary tattoos to keep the electronics concealed. Rogers and his colleagues have separately demonstrated that they can add other useful features to epidermal electronics. Solar cells could one day power the devices without an external source; meanwhile, signals recorded by the devices could be transmitted to a base station wirelessly with antennas. In the long term, Rogers believes the technology could provide an electronic link to the body's most subtle processes, including the movement of enzymes and antibodies, to track the path of disease. "

On one hand it's a more or less traditional patch, though an ultra-thin one. On the other, they have figured out a way to customize electronic circuits according to a particular behavior of body surface:

Place the components and wires too close and they will stiffen the device, making it liable to tear. So Rogers's group uses a computer program to predict all the stresses and strains that arise with different designs and then picks the one that keeps elasticity at a maximum.
All together, should probably help in longitudinal studies by making patches less cumbersome to wear.
tags: trade-off, 10x, control, dynamic, medicine, information, detection

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