Two fingers with the very fine electronic spider silk wrapped around

This looks promising! As with everything like this, though, the more data we capture about the body, the more we need robust privacy legislation and security protocols.

Also, I’m pretty sure this could be printed as a form of tattoo on the surface of the human skin, so it could be art as well as science.

Researchers have developed a method to make adaptive and eco-friendly sensors that can be directly and imperceptibly printed onto a wide range of biological surfaces, whether that’s a finger or a flower petal.

The method, developed by researchers from the University of Cambridge, takes its inspiration from spider silk, which can conform and stick to a range of surfaces. These ‘spider silks’ also incorporate bioelectronics, so that different sensing capabilities can be added to the ‘web’.

The fibres, at least 50 times smaller than a human hair, are so lightweight that the researchers printed them directly onto the fluffy seedhead of a dandelion without collapsing its structure. When printed on human skin, the fibre sensors conform to the skin and expose the sweat pores, so the wearer doesn’t detect their presence. Tests of the fibres printed onto a human finger suggest they could be used as continuous health monitors.


The researchers say their devices could be used in applications from health monitoring and virtual reality, to precision agriculture and environmental monitoring. In future, other functional materials could be incorporated into this fibre printing method, to build integrated fibre sensors for augmenting the living systems with display, computation, and energy conversion functions.

Source: Research | University of Cambridge