The idea of smart skins is appealing, and many scientists all over the world are sweating into creating that electronic medium which shall have all the electrodes and sensors packed into a super thin layer, so thin that it may pass for a temporary tattoo. While synthesizing e-skin has been on a rise, what with their several applications, there’s a new ultrathin electronic skin developed by researchers from University of Tokyo that turns the skin into a screen, that will display blood-oxygen level, heart rate sensors for gymnasts and athletes apart from showing other data. Such technology could be extremely useful for doctors in hospitals, who constantly need to monitor for their patients’ health.
University of Tokyo’s e-skin stands out owing to its longevity. Where the other skins worked just for a few hours, their prototype held ground for more than a day. This was possible because of the extra protective coating the team applied to keep air and water vapor out of the skin’s intricate inner workings. They claim that the polymer light-emitting diodes (PLEDs) and organic photodetectors (OPDs) they’ve used for the skin’s display are much more efficient that those that have been produced before. The PLEDs were just three micrometers in diameter (lesser that one-tenth of a human hair) and more than six times efficient compared to previously reported ultrathin PLEDs. This reduced power generation and heat consumption made it suitable for direct attachment to the body. The group even demonstrated a blood oxygen sensor by combining red and green PLEDs with a photodetector.
Professor Takao Someya who was part of the group, stated that while mobile phones, we have become an essential part of our communications are getting smaller and thinner by the day, are still discrete and has to be carried by us. But if we had displays that we could simply integrate with our bodies, that can not only help us communicate by even show our physical and emotional statistics, then these would better the way we interact with people around us and will add a completely new dimension of how we communicate.