By now, you're probably well aware that 2014 is the year of wearable technology. From smart bracelets to Android Wear to an ever-expanding array of fitness trackers, tech isn't just in our hands anymore — it's on our bodies.
But, there's always room for improvement. Researcher John Rogers wants to get even closer to tech with a flexible, stick-on circuit board developed by his team at the University of Illinois.
Roughly the size of a Triscuit, the circuit board attaches to your skin like a nicotine patch. According to Co.Design, it can be fitted with inexpensive components including a battery, an accelerometer, a Wi-Fi chip, and Bluetooth.
If that sounds like the stuff that powers your cell, well, it's because it is. But, even though the circuits could be used to make tiny telephones, a smart watch does pretty much the same thing already. Instead, Rogers tells Co.Design that he's interested in using these circuits in conjunction with your body, monitoring its processes in ways that your FitBit can't. That means clinical-grade electronics outside of the hospital — a heart-rate monitor that can give you ECG readings, for example.
The circuit is still in the prototype stage, so don't expect to find it on store shelves in the coming month — more like one to two years. That should be plenty of time for your FitBit to play catchup. (Co.Design)