It could take just a few more years for the advent of mew technology that will allow doctors to track your vital signs through an electronic skin that will be worn on the body.
An ultra-thin, lightweight e-skin that can be stuck to the chest area using water spray could be worn for a week at a time, say researchers in Japan.
Takao Someya, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering has developed the technology. Someya has already started to work with partners for developing the manufacturing processes even though the new device is yet to undergo clinical trials.
The e-skin is a wearable sensor that will have the ability to pick up signals such as heartbeat and electrical impulses from muscle movement and is made up of the e-skin is a wearable sensor that can pick up signals such as heartbeat and electrical impulses from muscle movement – a flexible material that has a layer of gold.
Heartbeat data will be sent to a nearby smartphone or laptop, or to the cloud through a small wireless transmitter strapped to the chest. That will allow doctors to monitor the data remotely.
“E-skin is the next generation of wearables,” Someya said in a television interview. “Today’s mainstream wearables are in the form of smart watches and glasses, which are bulky. In contrast, e-skin is thin, lightweight, stretchable and durable.”
The target consumer group that encouraged the development of the latest e-skin is the rapidly aging population of Japan. It is important for monitoring the health of older people for extended periods of time and with high precision in order to make remote health care most effective, Someya says. Chronic diseases like diabetes, as well as heart failure, can be accurately monitored by the e-skin because of its durability, he says. It may also help detect early signs of illness.
In partnership with Dai Nippon Printing, an LED display is also being developed by Someya which will be worn on the back of the hand of a user. This display will show heartbeat data transmitted by the e-skin in the form of large and easily understood graphics and is directed for use for older people or those with who have difficulty using a smartphone.
According to a report by Grand View Research, the market for e-skin was worth an estimated $4.5 billion in 2019. This technology also has the potential to be used in robotics, prosthetics and health care because of the high flexibility of e-skin which sometimes can also have the ability to repair itself.
Work on development of e-skin for robots was stared as early as in 2000 by Someya and his team. Two spin-off companies — Signtle, for medical applications, and Xenoma, for smart clothing, are being used for developing the other research from their lab for the commercial marketplace.
“The ultimate goal of e-skin is to monitor all the different types of human information easily, anywhere and anytime, without disturbing daily activities,” he says.
(Adapted from CNN.com)