From the writings on cave walls to our tiny touch screen phones, technology around the world have not only enhanced our communications skills but innovated the way we live our day-to-day lives. Imagine living in a world where your phone screen isn’t in a device held in your hand but right on your skin itself! As crazy as that seems this idea isn’t as far-fetched as you may think.
Numerous researchers are now looking into what they call “e-skins” or smart skins where electronic sensors are packed into a “super-thin, super-flexible material - so thin and flexible that the user could wear it like a temporary tattoo” says Rachel Feltman on the Washington Post. For example, the University of Tokyo’s team of researchers have had a recent breakthrough in their research which helps advance the longevity of the skin to last over a day by producing a protective coating to keep air and moisture out. Smart skins beforehand could only last for several hours.
While this idea could be used for entertainment purposes such as having a built in watch on the back of your hand it could be used for health and medical purposes. As of now blood oxygen levels can be displayed on the skin which are measured by the amount of light that goes through the body. Though this isn’t exactly the breakthrough you might have expected it is showing our progression to a whole new technological age. “This kind of skin could even alert us if we are getting too much sun and/or nearing a potential sunburn risk. It could blink or vibrate and warn you to get shade or reapply sunscreen” says Dr. Rashid of Houston’s Mosaic Clinic Dermatology.
“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,” study author Takao Someya of the University of Tokyo says, “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.”