The breakthrough ‘e-skin’ patches will enable accurate skin measurements in even the most demanding environments, says the Korean cosmetics conglomerate
MIT and Amorepacific's chip-free skin sensor
The South Korean beauty conglomerate Amorepacific has developed the world’s first chip-less and wireless wearable electronic skin.
The ‘e-skin’, created in collaboration with remote epitaxy specialist Professor Kim Jeehwan at MIT, is sweat proof and can continuously monitor skin changes over long periods of time.
According to Amorepacific, the ultra-thin patches are the first to support skin monitoring and data transmission without requiring integrated circuit chips or batteries.
Instead they are enabled by epitaxial freestanding compound semiconductors.
MIT engineers shared that, at the heart of the sensor, is an ultra-thin, high-quality film of gallium nitride, a material that is known for its piezoelectric properties, meaning that it can both produce an electrical signal in response to mechanical strain and mechanically vibrate in response to an electrical impulse.
The researchers found they could harness gallium nitride’s two-way piezoelectric properties and use the material simultaneously for both sensing and wireless communication.
The breathable patches are also patterned with artificial human sweat ducts to ensure that sweat permeates through the film to prevent skin irritation and to stop the patch from falling off.
The breakthrough is anticipated to transform e-skin research, with this new iteration proven to accurately measure the wearer’s skin even in demanding environments.
“What kickstarted this research was a question nagging one of our researchers while on a flight, wondering whether it would be possible to accurately measure how dry and sensitive our skin gets at 35,000ft,” said Park Young-Ho, Head of Amorepacific’s R&I Center.
“This remarkable scientific achievement has played a major role in raising the bar in skin research, with findings and ongoing data that will help us develop new products across all our brands, including Sulwhasoo, enabling us to provide customers around the world with the most scientifically advanced beauty products and skin solutions.”
“Chips require a lot of power, but our device could make a system very light without having any chips that are power-hungry,” added Professor Kim.
“You could put it on your body like a bandage, and paired with a wireless reader on your cellphone, you could wirelessly monitor your pulse, sweat and other biological signals.”