Video of the week: 3D printed wearable electronics

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This week’s video comes from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University where researchers have developed a new hybrid 3D printing technique that combines stretchable conductive inks and electronic components into durable wearable devices. These devices move with the body and are said to offer increased programmability.

The stretchable conductive ink is made of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), a flexible plastic that is mixed with silver flakes.

“With this technique, we can print the electronic sensor directly onto the material, digitally pick-and-place electronic components, and print the conductive interconnects that complete the electronic circuitry required to ‘read’ the sensor’s data signal in one fell swoop,” said Harvard engineer Alex Valentine.

This advance from the Wyss Institute is helping to overcome a barrier to wearable electronic devices that track and measure the body’s movements, namely to integrate rigid electrical components on or within flexible skin-mimicking matrix materials.