Stretchable, flexible electronics has attracted tremendous attention in the past 2-3 decades due to the combination of its superior mechanical attributes and electrical performance. This type of electronics can be applied in places that are not accessible by traditional rigid printed circuit boards. This is especially important for wearable electronics which can be applied onto the surface of the human body to provide many useful functions such as tracking and monitoring physical activity, health condition, delivering drugs, human computer interface and virtual/augmented reality. Unfortunately, mass production of applications like these generate large amounts of electronic waste. By 2021 electronic waste is estimated to reach 52.2 million tons, and the majority of this cannot be appropriately recycled. The consequence is large amounts of heavy metals and other hazardous substances entering the eco system, and the loss of precious metals.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have invented a multifunctional wearable electronic system that combines advances in materials, chemistry and mechanics to enable superior stretchability, self-healability, recyclability and reconfigurability. This electronic system heterogeneously integrates rigid, soft and liquid materials through a low-cost fabrication method. Such multifunctional system can provide physical motion tracking, body temperature monitoring, and sensing of acoustic and electrocardiograph signals.
Stage of Development
Technology Readiness Level (TRL): 6.
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