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2011 Science News of the Year: Technology

12:03pm, December 19, 2011

Courtesy of J. Rogers

Epidermal electronics

Scientists have created an ultrathin electronic device that puckers, stretches, wrinkles and bends just like human skin (SN: 9/10/11, p. 10). This flexible patch could one day allow the human body to enter the digital world, enabling Internet browsing without the mouse or communication without words. The patch’s electronics form a flexible net of wavy S-shaped curves that can stretch in any direction and still work. Two supple polymer sheets sandwich the business layer of the gadget and the whole thing sits on a film that sticks to skin.

Developed as less obtrusive health monitors, versions of the device have been used to track vital signs. In a more lighthearted demonstration, the patch analyzed a person’s throat muscles as directions were spoken to move a cursor in a computer game. Mixing

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