Engineers in Japan are working with what they are calling ‘electronic skin’ that would be able to bind to your body and display information. There has been some chatter about electronic skins that can repair themselves but this is one of the first working prototypes that actually displays information on it. The researchers say that the skin uses organic light-emitting diode (OLED) which is used in smartphone and television technology. Therefore, you would become a walking, talking smartphone television.
The team from the University of Tokyo have worked on an adhesive protective coating that would protect the electronic elements of the skin from the exposure to the outside world.
Takao Someya, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Tokyo, in an interview with Live Science, said: “Our e-skin can be directly laminated on the surface of the skin, allowing us to electronically functionalize human skin. We think functionalizing the skin may replace the smartphone in the future. When you carry an iPhone, it is a bulky device. But if you functionalize your own skin, you don’t need to carry anything, and it’s easy to receive information anywhere, anytime.”
Credit: Someya Lab/University of Tokyo
Other prototypes of electronic skin have been made but have allegedly not been as successful as Someya Lab’s has, due to air exposure which renders it useless most of the time. Someya’s team of engineers was reportedly able to ensure a longer lifespan due to the protective film they have developed.
The film is called a ‘passivation layer’ and includes “inorganic silicon oxynitride and organic perylene” according to Live Science.
Someya says the ultra-thin skin could monitor people’s health and inform a person of how much oxygen is coursing through humans’ veins.
On top of that, they say the displaying of information is something they are interested in implementing with the new e-skin.
“The potential uses ranges from information display to optical characterization of the skin,” said John Rogers, a professor of science and engineering at the University of Illinois. “Opportunities for future research in this context include the development of power supply systems and of wireless schemes for data communication and control.”
The journal ScienceAdvances published the article under the title Ultraflexible organic photonic skin.
The abstract says:
Thin-film electronics intimately laminated onto the skin imperceptibly equip the human body with electronic components for health-monitoring and information technologies. When electronic devices are worn, the mechanical flexibility and/or stretchability of thin-film devices helps to minimize the stress and discomfort associated with wear because of their conformability and softness.