Most of us who have Fitbits and other monitoring devices usually have to accessorize them with what we wear. A research team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed a new class of electronics that they call ‘Transformative Electronics Systems.’ The premise of the new devices is to conform to the user’s skin and become a seamless wearable, enabling reconfigurable electronics to be used for consumer applications without having to worry about them being visible.
Changing Shape through Coding
The new technology developed by KAIST can mechanically change its shape, form, and flexibility, based on commands. Users can seamlessly edit the device’s configuration and stretchability to conform to almost any surface. The hope is that by embedding networking electronics within these materials, they can connect to PCs, laptops, or even mobile devices. The peripherals can then meld seamlessly with the body, making them virtually invisible to the observer.
What is this New Technology Made Out Of?
The material that the research team used for this new transformative tech is a combination of gallium, which has been hermetically sealed within a soft silicone casing. The silicone contains electronics that allow for the change of the soft rubber casing based on temperature changes from the external environment. Gallium is biocompatible and has a low melting point. When it comes into contact with human skin, it melts and softens the electronic structure, turning the device into a fully form-fitting wearable. When the user removes the device from their skin, the gallium solidifies once more, returning the device into a flexible belt.
Useful in Multiple Areas
The researched acknowledged that their breakthroughs were due to consultation with biomedical, mechanical, and electrical engineers. The future applications of the technology may be within consumer electronics, allowing for the construction of better wearable devices for monitoring body functions. If the technology is adopted, it could significantly impact how we interact with wearables soon.