Researchers have discovered a multifunctional ultra-thin wearable electronic device that is imperceptible to the wearer.
These wearable human-machine interfaces devices that can collect and store important health information about the wearer, among other uses have benefited from advances in electronics, materials and mechanical designs. But current models still can be bulky and uncomfortable, and they can't always handle multiple functions at one time.
Researchers reported in the study published in the journal of Science Advances the discovery of a multifunctional ultra-thin wearable electronic device that is imperceptible to the wearer.
The device allows the wearer to move naturally and is less noticeable than wearing a band-aid, said Cunjiang Yu, the lead author for the paper.
"Everything is very thin, just a few microns thick. You will not be able to feel it," said Yu.
It has the potential to work as a prosthetic skin for a robotic hand or other robotic devices, with a robust human-machine interface that allows it to automatically collect information and relay it back to the wearer.
That has applications for health care "What if when you shook hands with a robotic hand, it was able to instantly deduce physical condition?" Yu asked, as well as for situations such as chemical spills, which are risky for humans but require human decision-making based on physical inspection.
While current devices are gaining in popularity, the researchers said they can be bulky to wear, offer slow response times and suffer a drop in performance over time. More flexible versions are unable to provide multiple functions at once sensing, switching, stimulation and data storage, for example, and are generally expensive and complicated to manufacture.
"We report an ultrathin, mechanically imperceptible, and stretchable (human-machine interface researchers discover e) HMI device, which is worn on human skin to capture multiple physical data and also on a robot to offer intelligent feedback, forming a closed-loop HMI. The multifunctional soft stretchy HMI device is based on a one-step formed, sol-gel-on-polymer-processed indium zinc oxide semiconductor nanomembrane electronics," the researchers wrote.
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