An international team of researchers headed by John A. Rogers of the University of Illinois is at it again, pushing the boundaries of flexible electronics. Now they’ve developed a thin skin-like sensor that can be laminated onto skin using a special glue and that can continuously measure peripheral temperature. The sensors can be manufactured large enough to sense the skin temperature over wide areas of the body with millikelvin precision. Moreover, because the technology has a very high temporal resolution, it can be used to measure tissue thermal conductivity.
The sensor requires an external power source and the team is developing appropriate methods for delivering it. Interestingly, the same power source can be used to heat the skin under the patch by simply raising the voltage.
From the study abstract:
Such devices can also be implemented in ways that reveal the time-dynamic influence of blood flow and perfusion on these properties. Experimental and theoretical studies establish the underlying principles of operation, and define engineering guidelines for device design. Evaluation of subtle variations in skin temperature associated with mental activity, physical stimulation and vasoconstriction/dilation along with accurate determination of skin hydration through measurements of thermal conductivity represent some important operational examples.