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Communications of the ACM

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Electronic Skin Powered by Sweat Can Monitor Health, Serve as Human-Machine Interface

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Peeling the electronic skin off someone's real skin.

California Institute of Technology's Wei Gao has developed a perspiration-powered electronic skin that can monitor the wearers vital signs.

Credit: Wei Gao

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)'s Wei Gao has developed a perspiration-powered electronic skin (e-skin) that can be applied directly to human skin, with embedded sensors to monitor the wearer’s vital signs.

The e-skin's built-in biofuel cells absorb lactate from the wearer's sweat, which combines with air to generate water, pyruvate, and electricity, powering the sensors and a Bluetooth device.

This enables the e-skin to wirelessly broadcast sensor readings, and the biofuel cells can produce continuous, stable power output over multiple days.

Gao said the goal is to create diverse sensors that can be embedded in the e-skin for multiple functions.

He said, "This can be a human–machine interface. The vital signs and molecular information collected using this platform could be used to design and optimize next-generation prosthetics."

From Caltech News
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