Something that didn’t come out in Hunting the Shadows is that all the agents are hooked up with one of these electronic skin patches that monitors the health of the person during certain periods of stress. Recently, a scientist reported about the development of such a sci-fi-ish innovation at the 243rd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
So what is it? It’s like a temporary tattoo that diagnoses health problems (and maybe even delivers treatments) wirelessly. The patches are about the thickness of a human hair and apparently the wearer won’t even feel it on their skin. However, despite their size, the electronic circuits can transmit data to the patient’s cell phone and to the doctor’s office. The patches were developed not only to be flexible, but also stretchable to move with the natural motions of the skin. In order to make the silicon-based wafers used for electronics bendable, they had to use very small pieces in a wavy pattern.
“We had to structure the system in a strategic way that would avoid any strains or stresses that would crack or fracture these tiny bits of silicon.”– John Rogers
The patches are then transferred to the skin just like a temporary tattoo, with water and a backing that peels off. While the early versions wore off a day after or as soon as they got wet, the newest ones use a modified spray-on type bandage over the patch to protect the circuits from water and wear and tear.
Our newest patch can measure muscle activity and stimulate the muscles. That’s useful for rehabilitation after an accident or long periods of bed rest or even for helping people move prosthetic limbs more easily.” And with plans to add Wi-Fi capabilities, electronic skin could also send information back to a physician.
Not only will it be noninvasive, it will be able to monitor the patient in their daily routine instead of during the often, stressed period while at the hospital for tests.