You don’t have to look like a Star Trek Borg to wear skin-mounted electronics. A team of scientists and engineers at the University of Illinois has developed a “smart skin”
that can be used to connect wearers to the cyber-world as easily as sticking on a temporary tattoo.
The smart skin can monitor your heart rate or brain waves, for example, or detect the electric activity in muscle contractions and send the signals to a computer, without stick-on electrodes, bulky wires, conductive gels, tape or skin-penetrating pins.
Just a few centimetres wide and thinner than a human hair, the smart skin could make monitoring people’s physiological status more comfortable and more accurate than using electrodes because it stays stuck to the skin and doesn’t interfere with the wearer’s movement, the researchers say.