In the latest issue of Nature, Japanese and Austrian researchers are detailing an amazing discovery: the thinnest circuits ever created by humanity—one-micron-thick circuits that bend, twist, and are designed especially to be used in wearable health care products.
According to the Japan Science and Technology Agency, "the soft sensor system can be applied to freely curved surfaces like human skin to continuously measure body temperature, blood pressure, and many other vital signs." Cheap to manufacture at scale, the imperceptible circuits are sweat- and water-resistant, and can curve to fit human skin.
News of the circuits, which brings music to the ears of developers at dozens of companies creating wearable health care products, also fits in with a larger trend we've been seeing at Fast Company: the miniaturization of computer hardware. Instead of having an iPhone or Android in your pocket with all sorts of sensors and software, the phone tech is integrating itself into our clothing and jewelry. Check out recent news on flexible touchscreens and stamp-on circuits to get a better idea of what we're talking about.