E-Skin Ushers in the Next Era of Smart Technologies by Enabling the Shift from Wearables to Skin-worn Devices

March 22, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Healthcare, consumer electronics and robotics to benefit the most from the disruptive technology, finds Frost & Sullivan’s TechVision team

As a wearable, ultra-thin, flexible device, electronic skin (e-skin) involves the convergence of several technologies such as microelectronics, sensors, materials and ICT. E-skin is rapidly establishing its immense utility in the healthcare industry for monitoring and medical applications such as measuring and sensing anatomical activities. The expanding aged population and patient pool with chronic diseases is giving a huge boost to technology development, along with high funding, advances in microelectronics and Internet of Things (IoT).

Electronic Skin - Advancements and Emerging Opportunities, a part of Frost & Sullivan’s TechVision (Sensors & Control) Growth Partnership Service program, finds that in a few years, e-skin technology will:

  • Replace all bulky testing and medical diagnostic devices
  • Power new applications like smart lighting and smart touch displays
  • Allow robots to be deployed in hazardous areas where humans cannot reach, and gather analytical data

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The integration of multiple sensors in the e-skin substrates will also open up opportunities in safety and security applications, consumer electronics and robotics. In electronics, e-skin can replace existing body-worn wearable devices and create a new user-interfacing device for controlling external electronic gadgets. In robotics, e-skin can impart the sense of touch to robots to perform surgical operations without requiring human intervention.

“Emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, near-field communication, advanced materials and fabrication will energize the e-skin market,” noted Frost & Sullivan TechVision Research Analyst Varun Babu. “This technology is expected to mature rapidly in the next five years, and achieve mass-scale manufacturing and deployment in various application areas.”

Although e-skin technology creates innovative products, it faces numerous challenges related to integrating sensors into the human body and data processing. Medical regulatory norms, cost pressures and technology complexity are additional hurdles that it needs to overcome to be considered feasible. In response, manufacturers are employing innovations to resolve the issues of material degradation, lifetime, complex circuitry designing and skin irritation.

“Once the e-skin technology matures, human intervention in industrial machines, healthcare management and many more applications will be greatly reduced,” observed Babu. “E-skin has received both federal and venture capital funding, which is expediting research activities and the commercialization processes. The global rise in the number of patents filed will further encourage investors and set the stage for large-scale implementation of this technology.”

About TechVision

Frost & Sullivan's global TechVision practice is focused on innovation, disruption and convergence, and provides a variety of technology-based alerts, newsletters and research services as well as growth consulting services. Its premier offering, the TechVision program, identifies and evaluates the most valuable emerging and disruptive technologies enabling products with near-term potential. A unique feature of the TechVision program is an annual selection of 50 technologies that can generate convergence scenarios, possibly disrupt the innovation landscape, and drive transformational growth. View a summary of our TechVision program by clicking on the following link:

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today's market participants. For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community.

Electronic Skin - Advancements and Emerging Opportunities


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