Scientists Print Electronic Sensors Directly onto the Skin

A thin wire mesh on the surface of the skin could allow for the wireless transmission of health metrics, such as temperature and hydration, to central medical stations in hospitals.

What's the Latest Development?

Thanks to advances in flexible electronics, scientists have found a way to graft a thin wire mesh onto the surface of the skin, allowing for the wireless transmission of health metrics, such as temperature and hydration, to central medical stations. "So-called 'epidermal electronics' were demonstrated previously in research from the lab of John Rogers, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the devices consist of ultrathin electrodes, electronics, sensors, and wireless power and communication systems."

What's the Big Idea?

The device can stay attached to the skin for two weeks before the body's natural exfoliation process causes it to flake off. During those two weeks, however, the electronics can measure temperature, strain and hydration, all of which are general indicators of wellness. "One specific application could be to monitor wound healing: if a doctor or nurse attached the system near a surgical wound before the patient left the hospital, it could take measurements and transmit the information wirelessly to the health-care providers." Commercial application of the technology could be just a year and a half away.

Photo credit:

Read it at MIT Technology Review


Related Articles

To save us, half of Earth needs to be given to animals

We're more dependent on them than we realize.

(Photo Lily on Unsplash)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists says our survival depends on biodiversity.
  • A natural climate strategy we often forget.
  • Seeing our place among the Earth's living creatures.
Keep reading Show less

New infographics show how cigarette smokers are socially penalized

There's a high social cost that comes with lighting up.

Sex & Relationships
  • The home improvement company Porch recently polled 1,009 people on their feelings about smoking.
  • The company recently published the results as infographics.
  • In terms of dating, 80 percent of nonsmokers find the habit a turnoff
Keep reading Show less

The "catch" to being on the keto diet

While short-term results are positive, there is mounting evidence against staying in ketosis for too long.

Brendan Hoffman / Getty
Surprising Science
  • Recent studies showed volunteers lost equal or more weight on high-carb, calorie-restricted diets than low-carb, calorie restricted diets.
  • There might be positive benefits to short-term usage of a ketogenic diet.
  • One dietician warns that the ketogenic diet could put diabetics at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis.
Keep reading Show less