U Of I Research Into Wearable Flexible Circuits
By Jason Croft
Researchers at the University of Illinois are currently working on flexible circuits that can adhere to the skin like a bandage. It would be a less intrusive, more comfortable way of monitoring things like temperature and motion in real time.
Picture yourself going into the hospital or doctor’s office. Instead of large or intrusive machines used to monitor your vital signs, a small patch embedded with circuits is attached to your skin.
John Rogers is a professor of Material Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois, "The result is something that is really sort of almost biological in its properties. It’s like a thin piece of skin or an ultra-thin piece of meat. It’s very floppy and soft to the touch you can stretch it back and forth almost like a rubber band."
Rogers is also part of a company created to explore the commercial aspects these flexible, wearable circuits. They are currently working with Reebok to create impact sensors for sports equipment to better understand the causes and effects of concussions.
"It’s a device that treads into a soft good essentially a skull cap and provides very precise, three-axis accelerometery and rotational sensing of the head during an impact one might suffer on the football field for example," he said.
They are also finishing clinical trials on uses for skin care, wound healing, and even possibly detecting cancer. A report on these circuits was published in the April 4th edition of Science.