Thinner than a human hair, the patch is suited to unobtrusive health monitoring. It could also give a robot a more delicate sense of touch.
Toss a newly developed electronic patch into the air, and it will float softly to the ground like a feather. Crumple it into a ball and it will unfold undamaged.
The patch, detailed in a paper published today in Nature (subscription required), is thinner than a human hair and can be placed directly on the skin. It can be stretched to more than two times its normal size and is nearly unbreakable. It is also made on a sheet of inexpensive plastic. The patch could be worn by a medical patient or an athlete as an unobtrusive way to monitor health. Because it is waterproof, it could even be placed in a wearer’s mouth or used while swimming.