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Toward a new generation of smart skins

Nature Biotechnologyvolume 37pages382388 (2019) | Download Citation

Rapid advances in soft electronics, microfabrication technologies, miniaturization and electronic skins are facilitating the development of wearable sensor devices that are highly conformable and intimately associated with human skin. These devices—referred to as ‘smart skins’—offer new opportunities in the research study of human biology, in physiological tracking for fitness and wellness applications, and in the examination and treatment of medical conditions. Over the past 12 months, electronic skins have been developed that are self-healing, intrinsically stretchable, designed into an artificial afferent nerve, and even self-powered. Greater collaboration between engineers, biologists, informaticians and clinicians will be required for smart skins to realize their full potential and attain wide adoption in a diverse range of real-world settings.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank H. Lee, H. Kawasaki and T. Ebihara for fruitful discussions.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Systems, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

    • Takao Someya
  2. Thin-Film Device Laboratory & Center for Emergent Matter Science (CEMS), RIKEN, Wako, Japan

    • Takao Someya
  3. Department of Dermatology, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

    • Masayuki Amagai
  4. Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, RIKEN, Yokohama City, Japan

    • Masayuki Amagai

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The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Takao Someya or Masayuki Amagai.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/s41587-019-0079-1