Driven by growing consumer awareness about its numerous health benefits, the electronic skin market is slated to register a substantial growth momentum over the coming years. Additionally, ongoing technological advancements in the field are also expected to contribute momentously to the industry growth.
Skin, being one of the largest organs in the body, has a wide variety of properties such as self-healing ability, tactile sensing capability, high mechanical toughness, and stretchability. Electronic skin or e-skin are devices that mimic the properties of skin while also providing additional features. The primary application avenues of electronic skin are in prosthetics, robotics, and skin wearable devices.
The flexible and stretching characteristics of e-skin enable miniaturized semiconductors, including antennas, nano-scale drug administration systems, compact power sources, and LEDs. These devices can also be fitted with sensors that measure stress, strain, and temperature on their flexible substrate. Essentially materials that are silicone-based and have cross-linked polymers are applied to various points of the patient’s body. Flexible displays could also be printed onto e-skin to sidestep the uneasiness of wearing bulky monitoring devices.
Citing an instance, in February 2021, engineers at the University of California, San Diego announced that they had developed a soft and stretchy kind of skin patch that can be easily worn around the neck to regularly track heart rate and blood pressure while also measuring the levels of caffeine or alcohol, lactate, and glucose of the wearer.
This is the first-ever wearable device that monitors multiple biochemical levels as well as cardiovascular signals in the human body. This novel device could prove to be highly beneficial for people by helping them effectively manage their diabetes and high blood pressure, people who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19.
Following are some of the key trends that are expected to shape the electronic skin industry’s growth:
Increasing use of stretchable conductors
With respect to components, the stretchable conductor’s segment will witness substantial growth over the coming years owing to its outstanding physical properties. These are considered vital elements for stretchable electronic devices used in next-gen soft robotics as well as wearables. They are highly popular because of the numerous advantages they offer, including structure-based conductors that have the benefit of high conductivity since they include thin metal films. Consequently, these conductors are rapidly being used in wearable electronics.
Growing consumer awareness regarding e-skin
In terms of distribution channels, the overall market landscape for electronic skin is classified into B2C and B2B. Among these, the B2C segment is forecast to witness substantial product demand over the analysis timeframe. This anticipated growth is ascribed to rapidly rising awareness regarding e-skins among the general population, specifically in developed nations. In fact, with the proliferating healthy living trend, awareness about the potential health benefits of using electronic skin patches and suits would ensure strong sales in the B2C segment.
Byteflies & Quad Industries, Xenoma Inc., Abbott Laboratories, Xsensio, Bloomlife, VivaLnK, Inc., and iRhythm among many others are some of the key market players operating in the electronic skin market.