Connect Seminar: Soft Electronic and Microfluidic Systems for the Skin- Prof. John Rogers (Northwestern)
The skin is mechanically soft and curved; modern electronic and microfluidic technologies are rigid and planar. Eliminating this profound mismatch in physical properties will create vast opportunities in man-made systems that can naturally integrate with the epidermis, for diagnostic, therapeutic or sensory function with important, unique capabilities that range from fitness/wellness, to sports performance, clinical healthcare and virtual reality environments. Over the last decade, a convergence of new concepts in materials science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and advanced manufacturing has led to the emergence of diverse, novel classes of 'biocompatible' electronic and microfluidic systems with skin-like physical properties. This talk describes the key ideas and presents some of the most recent device examples, including (1) wireless, battery-free electronic 'tattoos', with applications in continuous monitoring of vital signs in neonatal and pediatric intensive care, including active deployments in the most advanced hospitals in the US and clinics in multiple countries in Africa, (2) microfluidic platforms that can capture, manipulate and perform biomarker analysis on microliter volumes of sweat, with applications in precise hydration management in sports and fitness, including commercial devices featured on celebrity sports figures with Gatorade and (3) programmable vibro-haptic interfaces that create patient feedback and enhanced experiences in virtual reality environments.