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Scientists develop ‘electronic skin’ that transmits info without a chip or battery

The electronic skin is a flexible film 100 times thinner than the width of human hair The post Scientists develop ‘electronic skin’ that transmits info without a chip or battery appeared first on Tal

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via SWNS, Danny Halpin

Without a chip or battery, a novel electronic “skin” driven by the heartbeat may convey biological data.

The electronic skin, also known as the e-skin, is a flexible film that conducts electricity and is 100 times thinner than a human hair. It may be wrapped around the body like a bandage.

Therein is a gallium nitride sensor that can wirelessly receive data from a smartphone as well as biological signals.

Chips consume a lot of power, but according to corresponding author Professor Jeehwan Kim of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, “this invention might make a system very light without having any chips that are power-hungry.”

You might apply it to your body like a bandage and wirelessly monitor your heart rate, sweat, and other biological signals when coupled with a wireless reader on your iPhone.

The present generation of wearable sensors, which include chips and batteries within, is too large, according to the engineers, for the smaller, thinner, and more flexible forms being created.

Gallium nitride and a layer of gold were combined in the study, which was published in the journal Science, to strengthen any electrical signals that were coming in or going out.

The apparatus was sensitive enough to vibrate in reaction to a person’s heartbeat and the salt in their sweat, and these vibrations generated an electrical signal that could be detected by a receiver close by.

Acoustic waves produced by this biological activity ripple across the film and form patterns that can be transmitted.

“If there is any change in the pulse, or chemicals in sweat, or even ultraviolet exposure to skin, all of this activity can change the pattern of surface acoustic waves on the gallium nitride film,” said Yeongin Kim, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati and the study’s first author.

And because our film is so sensitive, it can recognize these changes.

The engineers tested their theory by combining a pure film of premium gallium nitride with a coating of gold to enhance the electrical impulses that are conveyed.

The film is only 250 nanometers thick, or roughly 100 times thinner than the width of a human hair, and is what they believe to be an example of electronic skin.

They attached the e-skin to the volunteers’ wrists and necks, and then, without touching the sensor directly, they used a straightforward antenna to detect the device’s frequency.

The device could wirelessly detect and transmit variations in the surface acoustic waves of the gallium nitride on the skin of participants that were associated with their heart rates.

The gadget could detect and wirelessly transmit changing sodium levels while a volunteer held a heat pad and started to sweat when combined with an ion-sensing membrane, a substance that preferentially attracts a target ion, in this case sodium.

The findings, according to the researchers, represent the first step toward chip-free wireless sensors. They also see the potential for combining the current device with other selective membranes to monitor additional biological signals.

“We exhibited sodium sensing, but if you changed the sensing membrane, you could detect any target biomarker, like glucose or cortisol associated to stress levels,” said co-author of the study and MIT postdoctoral associate Jun Min Suh. It’s a rather flexible platform.

Scientists create “electronic skin” that transfers information without a chip or battery, according to a recent article on Talker.