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Skin-integrated electronics for VR/AR
Technologies for virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) create human experiences through visual and auditory stimuli that replicate sensations associated with the physical world. The most widespread VR/AR systems use head-mounted displays, accelerometers and speakers as the basis for three-dimensional, computer-generated environments that can exist in isolation or as overlays with actual scenery. By comparison to the eyes and the ears, the skin is a relatively underexplored sensory interface for VR/AR technology that could, nevertheless, greatly enhance experiences, at a qualitative level, with direct relevance in areas ranging from communications and social media, to gaming, entertainment and prosthetics technology. Here we present materials, device structures, power delivery strategies and communication schemes as the basis for a wireless, battery-free platform of electronic systems and haptic interfaces capable of softly laminating onto the skin to communicate information via spatio-temporally programmable patterns of localized mechanical vibrations. The resulting technology, which we refer as epidermal VR, creates many opportunities where the skin provides an electronically programmable communication and sensory input channel to the body, as demonstrated through example applications in social media/personal engagement, prosthetic control/feedback and gaming/entertainment.
Xinge Yu received his B.S. in engineering and technology in optoelectronics from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC) in 2009. He finished his Ph.D. research in solution process/printable flexible electronics at Northwestern University under the supervision of Prof. Tobin J. Marks and Prof. Antonio Facchetti, and recived his Ph.D. degree in Optical Engineering from UESTC in 2015. From 2015 to 2018, Xinge Yu was a postdoctoral research associate in the Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics at Northwestern University and an adjunct research assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was working on novel flexible and bio-electronics with Professor John A. Rogers.
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