Epidermal Electronics

I have been recently reading a lot about epidermal electronics. Pretty soon patients in hospitals (and sports people) should be able to wear skin mounted electrodes to be able to measure a variety of physiological indicators in real time for a prolonged period of time.

The latest innovation comes from the University of Illinois. A new device looking like a tattoo, has been developed and proposed as an innovative smart skin solution. Researchers at the University of Illinois who came up with this device made circuits with a wide array of components, to prove it could work: sensors, LEDs, transistors, radio frequency capacitors and wireless antennas. The devices can draw power from induction or even from mini solar cells!

Inventors say they could be used for various medical applications, especially sensors that monitor heart and muscle activity, which currently require conductive gels and/or relatively bulky equipment. To prove it, they measured electrical activity produced by the heart, brain, and skeletal muscles, some data are reported in Science.

image You can also see a video of the technology below. Pretty impressive technology which will be hopefully available soon!


This is impressive technology, pushing the boundaries of wearable sensors and providing incredible possibilities for studying human movement.

(Example of a sensor setup for EEG and other measurements. Photo courtesy of Prof. John Rogers)

(Easy removal of the skin mounted electrode. Photo courtesy of Prof. John Rogers)

You can learn more about this and other technologies developed by Professor Rogers’ group here.

3 thoughts on “Epidermal Electronics”

  1. Sounds very interesting!Seems to me like it could help us to monitor individuals response to training loads/intensities depending on what we can measure with itWhere do you specifically see this being applied? Are there any limitations in terms of the variables that can be measured?

  2. Thanks for your comment. I believe the technology is not there yet for us to use. But potentially ready in few years. I can see it being applied in various settings, depending on what is possible to measure validly and reliably.

  3. Intriguing. Do you think this could have applications for measurement of equine athletes – my area – in due course? In particular, anything that could measure in-competition performance (position, speed etc, as well as physiological data) without using unwieldy gadgetry could have considerable commercial spin-offs.Simon

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