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E-Skin Holds Promise to Disrupt Wearables Market

23 March 2017

The rise in flexible, ultra-thin electronic skin (e-skin) is rapidly becoming a disruptive technology in the wearables market for the consumer electronics, robotics and healthcare industries, according to new research from Frost & Sullivan.

E-skin involves microelectronics, sensors, materials and more being integrated into a thin material that can be worn on the body or used to create a number of innovative devices for greater immersion.

In the healthcare field, e-skin holds the promise to be used for measuring and sensing anatomical activities to replace bulky testing and medical diagnostic devices. With an aging population and growing number of people with treatable chronic diseases, e-skin could be a boon in future technology development, Frost & Sullivan says.

In consumer electronics, e-skin could be used to enhance safety and security applications or create a new line of wearable devices or new user-interfaces for controlling external electronic devices such as powering new smart lighting and smart touch display applications. In robotics, e-skin can be used to enhance the sense of touch to perform surgical operations without requiring human intervention or for robots to be deployed in hazardous areas where humans cannot reach to gather analytical data.

“Emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, near-field communication, advanced materials and fabrication will energize the e-skin market," says Varun Babu, research analyst for Frost & Sullivan. “This technology is expected to mature rapidly in the next five years, and achieve mass-scale manufacturing and deployment in various application areas.”

However, many challenges remain for e-skin such as how these devices would be integrated into the human body and data processing, regulatory norms and cost pressures in the healthcare industry. There is also work that needs to be done to improve material degradation, skin irritations and complex circuitry designs.

“Once the e-skin technology matures, human intervention in industrial machines, healthcare management and many more applications will be greatly reduced,” says Babu. “E-skin has received both federal and venture capital funding, which is expediting research activities and the commercialization processes. The global rise in the number of patents filed will further encourage investors and set the stage for large-scale implementation of this technology.”

To learn more about Frost & Sullivan’s research, visit: https://goo.gl/TDKomg

To contact the author of this article, email Peter.Brown@ieeeglobalspec.com


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