Wearables have been often termed as the next big thing in the world of computers. However, the current crops of wearable devices haven’t been able to garner a substantial amount of demand, primarily due to high prices and uncomfortable form factors. All fitness bands and smartwatches are good enough for a few hours before your skin starts retaliating, which in turn only make these appealing to the geeks and show-offs. Would they appeal to you if the next generation of wearables simply stick to your skin?
Researchers at the University of Tokyo and Dal Nippon Printing have come up with a new display that can stick to the user’s skin. It is essentially a stretchable rubber sheet that accommodates stretchable wirings and a 16x24 array of micro LEDs — all of which work together as an ultra-thin stick-on-skin display. Since they are individual LED bulbs, you can only expect the display to show simple texts and icons, like you see on an affordable fitness band.
The researchers state that the display can be stretched up to 45 per cent from its original length, which should make it very accommodative. However, the primary intention was to make it comfortable, which is why they claim that the user can wear it for a week without signs of inflammation. This is perfectly good for those who prefer to keep themselves informed or notified while at work.
As of now, the display’s primary intention is to serve the healthcare industry, where patients will wear these displays on themselves while a medical monitoring device attached to it displays vital statistics. This will aid in patient comfort while making it easier for the healthcare staff to keep an eye on them.
As of now, the product shown at the press event was a prototype and it will be while before the company achieves consumer-grade durability for the display. However, it is claimed that you might be able to see one of these serving patients in hospitals within three years. And if the company manages to implement a full smartphone-grade display in the stretchable material, then smartphones will cease to exist within a few years.