For those of you who haven’t taken the four hours to watch this excellent remake, here’s the thing: coma patients at the Jefferson Institute are being sustained and monitored by an artificial skin.
Scientists at the Cambridge startup MC10 are working on stretchable electronics that can be applied to a patient’s skin, and will stretch with the patient’s movements. Previous electronic-embedded polymer patches are only able to bend, not stretch. Recent advances in polymer substrate, microchips, LEDs, wireless technology, and even solar cells have now made this stretchable electronic skin possible.
MC10, in partnership with Reebok, aims to release its first product this fall. Although details are being kept secret, the company’s skin patch products are meant to wirelessly transmit medical information such as heart rate, respiration, hydration, temperature, and more from the patient to a nearby smartphone. Stretchable balloon catheters are also being developed to allow high-resolution mapping of the heart.
While this is a remarkable advance, and will very possibly revolutionize medical diagnostics, there is always the possibility with any new technology that it will be corrupted. Just think of the thousands of Google, Yahoo and Facebook users [not to mention bank customers] who have had to scramble to change passwords, cancel e-mail accounts, cancel credit cards and bank accounts all, because some criminal hacker used the Internet to steal their personal information. The Web was developed with high ideals; a technology that would allow people all over the world to communicate freely. When it became a marketplace with all this tempting credit card information floating around, it made all of us who use it to pay bills and buy products targets.
Yeah, stretchable electronic-embedded polymer is a wonderful advance, but I still am cringing!