Electronic ‘skin tattoos’ with medical, gaming uses, epidermal electronic system (EES)


“A hair-thin electronic patch that adheres to the skin like a temporary tattoo could transform medical sensing, computer gaming and even spy operations, according to a US study published Thursday. The micro-electronics technology, called an epidermal electronic system (EES), was developed by an international team of researchers from the United States, China and Singapore, and is described in the journal Science.

Through a combination of careful theoretical modeling and precise micro-manufacturing, a team of engineers and scientists has developed a new type of ultra-thin, self-adhesive electronics device that can effectively measure data about the human heart, brain waves and muscle activity–all without the use of bulky equipment, conductive fluids or glues.

The researchers have created a new class of micro-electronics with a technology that they call an epidermal electronic system (EES). They have incorporated miniature sensors, light-emitting diodes, tiny transmitters and receivers and networks of carefully crafted wire filaments into their initial designs.

The technology is presented–along with initial measurements that researchers captured using the EES–in a paper by lead author Dae-Hyeong Kim of the University of Illinois and colleagues in the Aug. 12, 2011, issue of Science.

The EES device was developed by collaborators from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, Tufts University, the Institute of High Performance Computing in Singapore, and Dalian University of Technology in China.

“Our goal was to develop an electronic technology that could integrate with the skin in a way that is mechanically and physiologically invisible to the user,” says corresponding author John Rogers, a professor in materials science and engineering department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “We found a solution that involves devices we designed to achieve physical properties that match to the epidermis itself. It’s a technology that blurs the distinction between electronics and biology.”

more information from The National Science Foundation (NSF) @ http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=121343&org=NSF&from=news