Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder are developing

The team, led by Jianliang Xiao and Wei Zhang, describes its new “electronic skin” in a paper published today in the journal Science Advances. The device can heal itself, much like real skin. It also reliably performs a range of sensory tasks, from measuring the body temperature of users to tracking their daily step counts.

And it’s reconfigurable, meaning that the device can be shaped to fit anywhere on your body.

“If you want to wear this like a watch, you can put it around your wrist,” said Xiao, an associate professor in the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering at CU Boulder. “If you want to wear this like a necklace, you can put it on your neck.”

Electronic Skin Stretching

A new “electronic skin” device can stretch by 60% in any direction without losing any functionality. Credit: Chuanqian Shi

He and his colleagues are hoping that their creation will help to reimagine what wearable devices are capable of. The group said that, one day, such high-tech skin could allow people to collect accurate data about their bodies—all while cutting down on the world’s surging quantities of electronic waste.

“Smart watches are functionally nice, but they’re always a big chunk of metal on a band,” said Zhang, a professor in the Department of Chemistry. “If we want a truly wearable device, ideally it will be a thin film that can comfortably fit onto your body.”

Stretching out

Those thin, comfortable films have long been a staple of science fiction. Picture skin peeling off the face of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator film franchise. “Our research is kind of going in that direction, but we still have a long way to go,” Zhang said. Hanya di tempat main judi secara online 24jam, situs judi online terpercaya di jamin pasti bayar dan bisa deposit menggunakan pulsa

His team’s goals, however, are both robot and human. The researchers previously described their design for electronic skin in 2018. But their latest version of the technology makes a lot of improvements on the concept—for a start, it’s far more elastic, not to mention functional.

Electronic Skin Device Ankle

A user wears an “electronic skin” device on the ankle. Credit: Chuanqian Shi

To manufacture their bouncy product, Xiao and his colleagues use screen printing to create a network of liquid metal wires. They then sandwich those circuits in between two thin films made out of a highly flexible and self-healing material called polyimine.

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