Wearable Electronic Skin That Can Monitor Health

Doctors in Hong Kong are a few years away from being able to track your vital signs through electronic skin worn on your body.

These researchers say they are in the middle of developing ultra-thin, lightweight electronic skin that is stuck to your skin through a water spray that you can wear for a week at a time.

Takao Someya is the developer of this technology.  Takao has said that they have not put the e-skin through any critical tests but are beginning to work with different business partners to develop its manufacturing process.

The e-skin is made from a very flexible material (polyvinyl alcohol) with another tiny layer of gold.  The skin will be sort of a sensor that will track things like your heartbeat and electrical impulses through muscle movement.  A small wireless transmitter will be strapped to the chest by the e-skin, sending all the data received to a nearby smartphone or laptop.  This will allow doctors to monitor patients remotely.

The e-skin is in development more so for two types of people: athletes and the elderly.  Takao’s latest e-skin was designed thinking of the aging population in Asia.  For healthcare to be effective away from the hospital, it is important to be able to monitor older people’s health for long periods of time efficiently.

Takao is planning on designing an LED display that will be worn on the back of a user’s hand.  This is more designed for the older generation that has a difficult time using smartphones.  This display will show heartbeat data transmitted by the e-skin in the form of a large, easily understood graphic.

The e-skin is also a great option for athletes; e-skin has been working on new sportswear for fitness monitoring.  Takao has been working with a few different companies to see how his e-skin can help out high-performance athletes.

The technology that has been made will track your body movements and send the information to a laptop, where the information will be changed into data visualizations.

“I think this could be a gamechanger in the sports world.  Players can feel a lot safer in their bodies knowing that they are being monitored during intense gameplay,” says senior Jameson Supinski.