An article published on Nature Communications by researchers at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) in South Korea reports on the successful development of a patch that can be worn on the skin containing a variety of sensors.
This result is leveraging on a study to create soft electronic in a 3D architecture (most of today’s results on soft electronics refer to 2D architecture). In particular researchers are using helicoidal wires that can be stretched and bent with no functionality loss.
The embedded sensors are able to track muscle movement (including acceleration) and electrical activity. As such they can provide data on heart and respiration rate, they can track eye movements and pick up signals from the brain electrical activity.
The patch is made with silicone material that embeds the required electronics. The wiring among the various components can be used as an antenna, to both transmit data and harvest power, so that no battery is required. You take the patch and you stick it on the desired part of your body. The prototype contains some 50 components connected through a grid of over 250 helicoidal wires made of gold chromium and phosphate that behave like springs.
As shown in the photo, an app residing on a smartphone can connect to the patch, retrive and process the data.
Researchers are pointing out that these types of sensors can be used in robotics enhancing the harvesting of data for autonomous systems.