Soft electronics could attach directly to internal organs

10

After years of research, Dr. John Rogers is making progress on electronics that he hopes can fit directly onto a brain or heart. While small electronic devices can currently monitor organ function and prevent problems like irregular heartbeats, the current generation is too inflexible to accommodate natural body movement. Rogers' elastic electronics, however, are made of silicon threads that can stretch and twist, following the contours of whatever they're attached to. One experimental device, for example, fits snugly around an animal heart, collecting information and stimulating the heart muscles with electric current like a nearly invisible pacemaker. Other circuits can be attached to the brain or skin like a temporary tattoo.

Rogers, who has previously collaborated with other scientists to make flexible electronics for devices like cameras, says he hopes his project will "bridge that gap, from silicon, wafer-based electronics to biological, 'tissue-like' electronics, to really blur the distinction between electronics and the body." That sounds almost science fictional, but it's really not a huge conceptual leap from the electrodes used today. Instead, flexible electronics would let the same technology take up less space and cause fewer complications, opening up new possibilities for its use. Premature babies, for example, could be monitored with the flexible electronics in a way that would be difficult with current, larger devices. For a full explanation of Rogers' research, check out a 2011 lecture at Yale University below.

More from The Verge

Back to top ^
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Verge username and password

As part of the new Verge launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Verge going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Verge username and password

As part of the new Verge launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Verge going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.
Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5345_tracker