Light up your skin with health-monitoring e-skin with integrated LEDs

Health monitoring using sensors used to be very invasive, but thanks to new innovations it is no longer necessary to wear large monitors or to visit the doctor regularly. Health monitors can be small enough to be integrated into clothing or even on your skin. A team of engineers from the University of Tokyo has developed an ultra thin, breathable, and stretchable electronic skin, or e-skin, that monitors your health and displays the data using integrated micro LEDs.

Many wearable sensors are either relatively narrow in their ability to collect biometric data, or rather bulky. The goal of the research was to develop wearable sensors that are broad in scope and unnoticeable to wear.

The e-skin can be worn directly onto your own skin and is unobtrusive thanks to its stretchability, up to 45 per cent of its original length. The LEDs exhibit simple graphics with motion using a 16 x 24 array of micro LEDs, including an electrocardiogram. The information the sensor monitors can also be sent to a smartphone or to your doctor.

The e-skin can be worn on the skin continuously for a week without causing any inflammation.

According to the researchers, skin electronics will enhance information accessibility for elderly people or people with disabilities.

Earlier, the same team developed tattoo-like health monitors that are capable of measuring temperature, pressure and myoelectricity, but the new skin was able to record an electrocardiogram for the first time.

The skin display was developed by a collaboration between researchers at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering and Dai Nippon Printing (DNP), a leading Japanese printing company. DNP is looking to bring the integrated skin display to market within the next three years.

Photos: University of Tokyo