Tech Update (May 2016)

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Electronic ‘tattoo’ transforms skin into a screen

Researchers have taken the concept of wearable technology to a whole new level by developing an electronic patch that transforms skin into an LED screen. The flexible display, created by scientists at the University of Tokyo, is as thin as cling film and is described as electronic skin, or e-skin.

The research, published in the journal Science Advances, describes how the technology could be used to display the wearer’s blood oxygen level or heart rate, meaning potential applications could be both medical and consumer. To achieve the flexibility required for such a device, the team of scientists used alternating layers of inorganic (silicon oxynitrate) and organic (parylene) material. This prevented oxygen and water vapour in the air from damaging the electronics.

Electronic displays have been stuck to skin before; however, the lifespan is usually only a few hours. In tests, the e-skin was able to last for several days.

Electronic skin tattoo (Image courtesy: www.newsweek.com)
Electronic skin tattoo (Image courtesy: www.newsweek.com)
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