A highly stretchable skin like the sensor is developed by the researchers at the University of Toronto, which can be applied directly to the natural skin of any individual.
FREMONT, CA: The stretchable skin’s material can measure alterations in temperature, humidity, and strain as well as keep track of the movements occurring under the tissues. This sensor is bestowed with the potential of a wearable health monitor. For example, the material can be used in a patch to track the movements in patients undergoing rehabilitation or as a smart bandage to boot wound healing.
Teams around the world have explored the potential of flexible materials in healthcare, and the recent study has found a wide range of stretchy materials with the potential as wearable’s and in soft robotics. This transition from rigid materials is considered as a paradigm shift, as flexible materials try to replicate and accommodate soft tissue in the body.
The newly discovered material is on par with the requirement of this 'soft' revolution, as it is highly stretchable. The material is hydrogen; hence it is pocket-friendly and biocompatible, one can put it o the skin without the risk of any toxic effect. It is also very adhesive as a result does not fall off from the skin.
The hydrogel skin comprises of two layers which have opposing charges, leading to negative and positive ions overlapping each other. Appropriate stimuli, like a change of temperature or any strain, gives rise to ion movements throughout the material, which can be measured by the researchers as electric signals.
The material used is robust and can resist damage even on being stretched substantially. The human skin can stretch about 50 percent, but the AISkin has the potential to stretch up to 400 percent of its length without breaking.
There are several potential applications of the material, including in monitoring the progress of the patients in rehab. For instance, if this material is put on the glove of a rehab patient, a healthcare worker can track their finger-bending movements. Another added advantage is the use of a smart bandage. The researchers can further advance this research, and this material can also be used like a ‘smart bandage’, which will transform wound healing.