Sunday, August 14, 2011

Step aside "Wearable Compiting", "Epidermal Computing" is the new buzz!

"Epidermal Electronics" - Remember this term, because I am sure we'll be hearing more of it in the future. Ars Technica writes about this amazing new technology of  "Epidermal Electronic System" (EES). Basically, its a "technology that allows electrical measurements (and other measurements, such as temperature and strain) using ultra-thin polymers with embedded circuit elements. These devices connect to skin without adhesives, are practically unnoticeable, and can even be attached via temporary tattoo."

Check out the cool video by Northwestern:

Tattoo electronics could have medical applications from Northwestern News on Vimeo.

For an in depth read and pictures that "show a lot of skin", I recommend diving into the full Science paper, and this Science perspective article that talks about the potential of the technology for medical applications.

What I thought was way cool is how they show proof of concept for solar power or inductive power sources (read: wireless power up, like RFIDs). I wonder if piezoelectrics could be used to power such epidermal devices from the motion of the wearer, or maybe harvest the person's body heat... (did anyone say Matrix?)

The authors discuss and show feasibility of RF based wireless communication, but I wonder if you can also do something like Body Area Networks where multiple epidermal devices could communicate with one another using the human body as its medium - so that you could have one device responsible for aggregating the sensor data and transmitting it out. And if we go this far, why not person-to-person communication, ala Jay Silver's ok2touch, but with all epidermic computing:

How about epidermal peer-to-peer music sharing?

I can already picture Hallmark making a kiss-activated-epidermal-electronics-musical-greeting-card-tattoo for Valentines day (Hallmark, lets talk royalties. Call me).

And can you imagine how the TSA would react to this tech?

Do you have other ideas for EES applications?


Unknown said...

Allow "sound" to travel to the brain.....bypassing the ears; thus eliminating the need for less than desirable present day hearing devices. I heard about this technology back in the 1990s.

banzanigoe said...
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