Amorepacific, a South Korean beauty and cosmetics conglomerate, in collaboration with Professor Kim Jeehwan at MIT, has developed the world’s first chip-less wireless wearable electronic skin (e-skin) that is sweatproof and can continuously monitor skin changes over long periods of time. The academic value and significance of this co-development are underscored by the publication of the research results in the prestigious journal Science, under the title of “Chip-less wireless electronic skins enabled by epitaxial freestanding compound semiconductors.”
The result follows four years of joint research between Professor Kim’s engineering research team at MIT and researchers at Amorepacific’s R&I Center in Korea. The key outcome is the development of a conformable e-skin in the form of a breathable patch which is enabled by epitaxial freestanding compound semiconductors. The patches are patterned with artificial human sweat ducts to ensure that sweat permeates through to prevent skin irritation and keep the patch from falling off. The ultra-thin patches are also the world’s first to support skin monitoring and data transmission without requiring integrated circuit chips or batteries.
The breakthrough patches set to completely change the paradigm of e-skins and e-skin research, featuring long-term wearability and power-efficient wireless communication modules with sensors that are exceptionally sensitive and require no bulky chips or batteries. Compared to other e-skin designs that lack permeability, this e-skin has been proven to accurately measure the wearer’s skin even in demanding environments. This scientific breakthrough is expected to further fuel the advanced development of cosmetics that can endure harsh conditions of various climates.
“What kickstarted this research was a question nagging one of our researchers while on a flight, wondering whether it would be possible to accurately measure how dry and sensitive our skin gets at 35,000ft,” said Park Young-Ho, Head of Amorepacific’s R&I Center. “This remarkable scientific achievement has played a major role in raising the bar in skin research, with findings and ongoing data that will help us develop new products across all our brands, including Sulwhasoo, enabling us to provide customers around the world with the most scientifically advanced beauty products and skin solutions.”
In addition to this development, Amorepacific’s R&I Center has developed a variety of customized beauty technologies for the global market, including the world’s first intelligent tactile sensor capable of measuring skin sensations; a Mind-linked Bathbot that analyzes a person’s feelings using brain waves to create a personalized bath bomb by a robot on the spot; and, the Myskin Recovery Platform, an integrative platform that lets customers easily measure daily skin conditions and monitor improvements based on a customized skin solution.
Professor Kim Jeehwan’s research team has developed several source technologies related to single-crystallinecompound semiconductor’s ultra-thin film growth and transfer using remote epitaxy. His team’s work on remote epitaxy made the cover of Nature in 2017, and the team’s research works in the field of semiconductor technologies are considered seminal.