An RMIT University engineer has developed transparent, unbreakable and wearable electronics that could help beat skin cancer.
Approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70, with the condition also causing thousands of deaths each year.
RMIT’s Associate Professor Bhaskaran has found a way to combine oxide materials (think the stuff that makes up the transparent layer on mobile phone touchscreens) with stretchable, rubber-like membranes.
“This has been utilised to develop new devices like UV sensors that are stretchable, optically transparent, and as thin as a sticker,” Bhaskaran says.
“The ability to create light-weight non-obtrusive sensors in the form of wearable patches or ‘electronic skin’ creates significant opportunity in health and performance monitoring,” Associate Professor Bhaskaran says.
“Devices to alert people to dangerous exposure levels of pollutants or UV, to track health parameters, and to diagnose ailments such as cardiac function or sleep disorders in a wireless manner will significantly improve basic and chronic health management, improving people’s standard of life.”
It’s not just healthcare that stands to benefit. The ability to combine brittle oxide materials with rubber-like membranes could also lead to transparent electronics, sensors to detect dangerous gases in mines, flat optical devices and even smart contact lenses.
The breakthrough saw her win a Eureka Prize — one of Australian science’s highest honours.
Read more about the new materials here. Story credit: RMIT newsroom.
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