Japanese researchers have found a way to turn human skin into computer displays by applying temporary tattoos on hands and arms, eventually giving them the “power of a smartwatch.
Dubbed e-skin, the technology includes a special film no thicker than 1/10th of a strand of hair created from flexible layers that protect electronic polymer light-emitting diodes and organic photodetectors from damaging effects of water vapor and air. The protoype according to co-developer Takoa Someya, was designed to measure vital signs such as heart rate and blood oxygen levels.
“If you functionalize your own skin, you don’t need to carry anything else, and it is easy to receive information anytime, anywhere,” he exclaimed.
Someya’s work appears to be an advancement in the integration of electronic sensors with the human nervous system,” in other forms of e-skin being developed to allow robotic limbs to “touch and hold objects such as eggs and drinking glasses without crushing them,” as described by Ali Javey, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and head of the UC Berkeley research team developing the artificial skin along with (then post-doctoral fellow in electrical engineering and computer sciences) Kuniharu Takei, lead author of that study.