Rubbed on like a temporary tattoo these ultra-thin electronics bend and stretch with the skin. Their development paves the way for sensors that monitor heart and brain activity to take the place of bulky equipment and taped-on electrodes. Electronic components shrunk to the size of tiny bumps on the skin are connected with serpentine wires that meander like rivers, straightening rather than snapping when stretched. The whole thing is mounted on a rubbery sheet that mimics the elastic properties of skin. Known as epidermal electronics, the technology can even control computer games from voice commands. Worn on the gamer’s throat, the patches detect the electrical charges associated with the muscle movements of speech. The potential applications of linking electronics and biology in this way seem boundless.
Written by Mick Warwicker
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (the new name for the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre) the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.