For new e-skin products, plastics are still the future

Covestro, a spinout of pharmaceutical giant Bayer, will present an e-skin product that uses custom polyurethane materials at an upcoming plastics trade fair.

Compared to other e-skin materials, Covestro argues that its own material sticks to skin for extensive periods, but can easily be removed without causing marks or pains.

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This would be a useful improvement over the current skin wearables, which either lack stickiness or are painful to remove. Covestro sees the e-skin material being useful in the wearables market, letting developers track different parts of the body.

“Consumers want wearables that cling gently to the skin, and that are also breathable and hypoallergenic,” says Gerd Büschel, a films expert at Covestro. “We’re meeting this need with a clever combination of different materials. The patch is affixed to the wearer by means of a skin-friendly, breathable adhesive, which also is solvent-free and water-repellent.”

Getting under their e-skin

Covestro hasn’t provided a lot of information on the capabilities for manufacturers that want to add connectivity modules, like Bluetooth, or sensors that track heart-rate, respiratory rate, and other measurements. We expect to find out more at K 2016.

Several universities and research labs have attempted to build e-skin products that can last for weeks and send data back to a connected smartphone. While Covestro’s new material doesn’t advance the connectivity aspect, it might make a mass market e-skin product more feasible.

For those interested in the skin products, Covestro will debut them at the K 2016 plastics trade show. If you’re not that into plastics, you should know that K 2016 is kind of a big deal, taking place in Düsseldorf, Germany, in October.

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