Palm Pilot: Transparent Digital Display on ‘Electronic Skin’

skin display

Cybernetics doesn’t have to mean high-tech or complex, as this handy LED display that slaps right onto your hand or arm demonstrates with easy, helped by stretchy circuitry.

A team of researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed an ultra-thin and ultra-flexible film which works as a lightweight display, effectively creating an electronic skin. It has obvious potential applications for fun but also for monitoring vitals right on a patient or athlete.

The leap here is going from millimeters to micrometers in thickness, making for something flexible, easy to wear and ultimately see-through as well as stable in the air. Using alternating layers of organic and inorganic material, the researchers were able to create transparent electrodes while preventing water and oxygen interfering with the behavior of the device. The result is able to crumple and bend without damage.

flexible electronic skin

“The advent of mobile phones has changed the way we communicate,” said professo Takao Someya of the University of Tokyo. “While these communication tools are getting smaller and smaller, they are still discrete devices that we have to carry with us.”

“What would the world be like if we had displays that could adhere to our bodies and even show our emotions or level of stress or unease? In addition to not having to carry a device with us at all times, they might enhance the way we interact with those around us or add a whole new dimension to how we communicate.”

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See more in Medical Marvels or under Science. April, 2016.