Feeds

Boffins working on biodegradable flexi LED implants

Silky hand-tattoo displays to replace watches, PDAs?

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Boffins in America are working on biodegradable, flexible electronic devices printed on silk, which could be implanted in the human body and would decay naturally over time. Applications could include LED displays inlaid beneath the skin, or direct nerve-controlled interfaces.

MIT Tech Review reports on the new in-body tech, which is seen as much more practical and less invasive than current implants. These have rigid structures and have to be "canned" or encased to protect them from body fluids and vice versa.

Rather, Professor Brian Litt of Pennsylvania Uni plans to build devices laid on flexible, foldable, rollable thin silk sheets. The silk backing is gradually absorbed without difficulty by the body - Litt and his fellow boffins can design for a period of months or years as required - leaving only microscopic amounts of silicon, as the circuitry is only nanometres thick. Silicon is "biocompatible" rather than "biodegradable", but in such tiny amounts it isn't an issue.

All this means that an electronic device can be rolled up or folded and slipped into place through a relatively small incision. Litt and his colleagues believe they will soon have working silk-backed LEDs, for instance, allowing one to have an LED "tattoo" beneath one's skin able to display anything from the time to one's current blood-sugar count.

Other ploys might include connections to the nerves, perhaps wirelessly linked to computers or other devices. Other researchers have also proposed using such hookups to "jumpwire" past broken or damaged nerve connections, so restoring control over a paralysed limb.

The flexibility of wetted silk might even allow circuitry to conform to the contours of the brain, according to the scientists, perhaps allowing deep-brain stimulation techniques of the sort used to keep Parkinson's disease under control.

Obstacles that lie ahead before we all get our under-skin bluetooth OLED displays, brain-to-computer direct interfaces, nerve jumpwire links and so on include the elimination of gold and titanium from the flexi-circuitry tech, and in many cases the matter of power supplies.

"It would be nice to see the sophistication of [implant] devices start to catch up with the sophistication of our basic science, and this technology could really close that gap," Litt told Tech Review. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code
Slow and kludgy rollout will protect corporate profits
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft – A jolly little war for lunchtime
Free-to-play WoW turn-based game when you have 20 minutes to kill
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.