Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and their colleagues in South Korea have developed a sweat-resistant “electronic leather,” a breakthrough in more durable smart devices of this type.
It is an adaptive adhesive patch built into a sensor that monitors a person’s health without reading errors and without going out, Even when the user sweats.
The patch is decorated with artificial sweat channels, similar to pores in human skin, which the researchers drilled through the extremely thin layers of the material. Pores penetrate the parchment with a kirigami-like pattern, similar to the Japanese art of paper cutting. The design ensures that sweat can seep through the patch, avoiding skin irritation and damage to the built-in sensors.
The kirigami design also helps the patch conform to human skin as it is stretched and folded. This flexibility, combined with the material’s ability to resist sweat, allows it to monitor a person’s health for extended periods of time, which was not possible with previous smart skin designs.
The results, published in Science Advances, are A step towards durable smart skins that can track daily vital signs or the development of skin cancer and other conditions.
“With this breathable and adaptable skin patch, there will be no sweat buildup, misinformation, or skin shedding,” Jihwan Kim, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, says in a statement. “We can provide wearable sensors that can monitor continuously over the long term.”