Forget about smartwaches. The newest breakthrough in biomedical technology turns the body into a screen, displaying important health information.
Led by Professor Takao Someya and Dr. Tomoyuki Yokota, a team of researchers from the University of Tokyo developed a high-quality film that produces electronic displays on the human skin.
The scientists developed a super thin and flexible protective film less than 2 micrometers thick, which can serve as electronic skin (e-skin) displays. Made with a material that looks like plastic wrap, the film can be laid over actual skin anywhere in the body.
The e-skin has an air-stable and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, ideal for a wide range of biomedical applications.
Wearable And Ultraflexible
In recent years, experts have been creating innovative wearables for health purposes. The challenge, however, is to create a super thin wearable that wouldn't be a discomfort to put on.
The researchers found a way to make the e-skin light and flexible. They made sure there were alternating layers of inorganic and organic material: Silicon Oxynitrite (inorganic) and Parylene (organic).
This layering also prevents oxygen and water vapor from passing into the skin, thereby prolonging the shell life of the device from just a few hours to about several days.
A Means to Measure Bodily Processes
The device does away with having to use heavier medical equipment to take measurements, such as a person's pulse and blood oxygen concentrations.
"In addition to not having to carry a device with us at all times, [the new tech] might enhance the way we interact with those around us or add a whole new dimension to how we communicate," Someya said.
The bright display of the device uses less power compared to other e-skins developed in the past. The display is a useful means to measure bodily processes to help doctors and nurses monitor a patient's condition, or help athletes keep track of their stamina and progress.
The study was published in the journal Science Advances.