Technology 2 min read

Chinese Scientists Create Tattoo-Like Stretchable Stopwatch

Image Credit: Desheng Kong/ Magnus News

Image Credit: Desheng Kong/ Magnus News

Researchers in China have developed a tattoo-like stretchable stopwatch. And they’re saying it will take human-machine communication to the next step.

Wearable technology is a growing trend that merges electronics with our daily activities and changing lifestyles. We now depend on these devices for various insights – whether it’s tracking our heart rate or blood glucose level.

What’s more, advancements in research have increased innovations in this field, which in turn increases the demand for these wearables. But it’s about to get even better.

The researchers at Nanjing University have invented a stretchable light-emitting device that operates at low voltages. Think of it as a stretchable stopwatch or cellphone that’ll allow athletes to check running times with a flick of a wrist.

An Alternating-Current Electroluminescent DIsplay

Not long ago, scientists invented a stretchable light-emitting device called alternating-current electroluminescent (ACEL) displays. It essentially looks like an electronic tattoo for users to stick on their skin or other surfaces.

There was just one problem.

The ACEL display required a relatively high voltage to attain a useful brightness level, and it raises a safety concern. So, researcher Desheng Kong and colleagues decided to address this issue.

They invented a new ACEL device that would attain sufficient brightness with low voltage, making it safer for the human skin.

Here’s how they made it.

Creating a Low Voltage Stretchable Stopwatch

Stretchable stopwatch | Image Credit: Desheng Kong/ Magnus News
Image Credit: Desheng Kong/ Magnus News

The Nanjing University team made an electroluminescent layer from light-emitting microparticles in a stretchable dielectric material. Then, they sandwiched this layer in between two other flexible silver nanowire electrodes.

Unlike the previous ACEL displays, the new device contained a new type of dielectric material. The material exists in the form of ceramic nanoparticles embedded in a rubbery polymer.

That way, it could safely attain the level of brightness that the previous ACEL display could not reach.

The researchers used the material to create a four-digit stretchable stopwatch. Then, they mounted the device on a volunteer’s wrist.

While operating at low voltage, the researchers noted that their ACEL device was bright enough to be visible under indoor lighting.

The bright ACEL display has a broad application, aside from creating a stretchable stopwatch for athletes. These include soft robotics, smart wearables, and human-machine interfaces.

The researcher published their article in the ACS Materials.

Read More: New AR Head-Mounted Display Offers Better Realistic Viewing

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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