Scientists create transparent ‘electronic skin’ for wearables

Researchers from the South Korean University Unist have developed an almost transparent and stretchable material with good electrical properties that can be placed on the skin for sensor applications, for example. A combination of graphene and metal fiber forms the basis.

The application as a sensor is compared to a temporary tattoo, Unist writes. The material is a hybrid structure of graphene and metal fiber, and combines low electrical resistance with transparency and good stretchability. The latter is required to be able to follow the natural movements of the skin. Even bending the center of the material would not affect the electrical and optical properties.

When used for a sensor, the material could measure, among other things, the wearer’s heart rate, blood pressure and brain activities. Thanks to the properties of the hybrid nanostructure, this could be done with almost as much precision as more traditional electrodes currently do.

According to the university, there have already been several studies into the electronic skin. However, the visibility of such sensors would have been a common problem. The researchers believe their discovery could be practically used for a variety of wearable electronics applications. The report is published in Nano Letters.