Wearables have emerged as an increasingly promising interactive platform, imbuing the body with always-available computational capabilities. This unlocks a wide range of applications, including information access, health, fitness, and fashion. Unlike previous platforms, wearable electronics require structural conformity, must be comfortable and should be soft, elastic, and aesthetically appealing. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Electronic Skin Patches 2019-2029.
The Morphing Matter Lab at Carnegie Mellon University introduces ElectroDermis, a fabrication system that simplifies the creation of wearable electronics that are comfortable, elastic, and fully untethered. The researchers envision a future where electronics can be temporarily attached to the body (like bandages or party masks), but functional and aesthetically pleasing. Overall, the researchers believe ElectroDermis offers a complementary approach to wearable electronics—one that places value on the notion of impermanence (i.e., the opposite of tattoos and implants), better conforming to the dynamic nature of the human body. The team used rigid electronic chips that are fixed at key points on the body but joined by flexible copper electrical wiring to make circuits which are encased between a stretchable fabric and a medical-grade adhesive film to stick them to the body. The stretchy wearable can be worn on moving joints such as the knee.
These wearables are customisable by using unique software. The adhesive layer can be replaced making the wearables reusable.
Source and images: Morphing Matter Lab at CMU