Nanomesh On-Skin Electronics Are a New Biointerface Frontier

Takao Someya Group/University of Tokyo
New sensors are basically temporary tattoos that act as electronics interfaces.

By Michael Byrne | MOTHERBOARD

You can learn a lot about the goings-on of the human body just through the skin. The electrical activity of the heart, for example, is reflected in tiny electrical changes on the skin, which can be observed through electrocardiography. Electromyography reveals the electrical activity of muscles, which may then reveal neuromuscular diseases. Electroencephalography (EEG) gives us a viewport into the workings of the brain. All are powerful tools, but every one of them involves the pasting of unwieldy pads to the skin in a hospital setting.

In a paper published Monday in Nature Nanotechnology, Akihito Miyamoto and colleagues offer an alternative in the form of ultrathin meshes that offer direct integration with the soft surface of the skin. They involve virtually no mechanical footprint while allowing skin to breathe and sweat as normal. Medical uses aside, the new nanomesh technology offers a crucial advance in wearables, generally—a seamless interface between skin and and electronics. In other words, where skin essentially becomes electronics.

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