The Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology (DGIST) announced on July 19 that its research team led by professor Lee Sung-won at the Department of Emerging Materials Science developed an electronic skin with a team led by Tokyo University professor Takao Someya and the electronic skin they developed uses a nanofiber substrate and allows air and body fluid circulation.
These days, scientists around the world are working on health data monitoring based on electronic skins. Existing electronic skins use materials such as plastic and rubber and cause inflammation on the human skin or hinder metabolism.
In this regard, the research teams produced a one-dimensional nanofiber substrate, instead of a planar two-dimensional substrate, by giving a mesh structure to nano-sized fibers in which water-soluble polymer polyvinyl alcohol is coated with gold particles. In addition, they placed tactile, temperature, and pressure sensors on the substrate.
In the electronic skin, air and body fluids circulate through the nano-sized holes uniformly distributed in the entire substrate. It is highly stretchable and rarely comes off finger joints and the like. Furthermore, it can be attached with nothing but water and requires no adhesive.
The teams succeeded in collecting biosignals such as body temperature and electromyogram with this skin. They also proved in a clinical trial that its biocompatibility surpasses those of existing electronic skins. Their research has been published in the Nature Nanotechnology journal.