Analysis

Global electronic skin market worth $16bn by 2026

15th March 2022
Kiera Sowery

Driven by growing consumer awareness about its numerous health benefits, the electronic skin market is slated to register a substantial growth momentum over the coming years.

Additionally, ongoing technological advancements in the field are also expected to contribute momentously to the industry growth.

Skin, being one of the largest organs in the body, has a wide variety of properties such as self-healing ability, tactile sensing capability, high mechanical toughness, and stretchability. Electronic skinor e-skin are devices that mimic the properties of skin while also providing additional features. The primary application avenues of electronic skin are in prosthetics, robotics, and skin wearable devices.

The flexible and stretching characteristics of e-skin enables miniaturised semiconductors, including antennas, nano-scale drug administration systems, compact power sources, and LEDs. These devices can also be fitted with sensors that measure stress, strain, and temperature on its flexible substrate. Essentially materials that are silicone based and have cross-linked polymers are applied to various points of the patient’s body. Flexible displays could also be printed onto e-skin to sidestep the uneasiness of wearing bulky monitoring devices.

Citing an instance, in February 2021, engineers at the University of California, San Diego announced that they had developed a soft and stretchy kind of skin patch that can be easily worn around the neck to regularly track heart rate and blood pressure while also measuring the levels of caffeine or alcohol, lactate and glucose of the wearer.

This is the first ever wearable device that monitors multiple biochemical levels as well as cardiovascular signals in the human body. This novel device could prove be highly beneficial for people by helping them effectively manage their diabetes and high blood pressure, people who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19.

Key trends that are expected to shape the electronic skin industry growth

Increasing use of stretchable conductors:

With respect to component, the stretchable conductors segment will witness substantial growth over the coming years owing to their outstanding physical properties. These are considered vital elements for stretchable electronic devices used in next-gen soft robotics as well as wearables. They are highly popular because of the numerous advantages they offer, including structure-based conductors that have the benefit of high conductivity since they include thin metal films. Consequently, these conductors are rapidly being used in wearable electronics.

Growing consumer awareness regarding e-skin:

In terms of distribution channel, the overall market landscape for electronic skin is classified into B2C and B2B. Among these, the B2C segment is forecast to witness substantial product demand over the analysis timeframe. This anticipated growth is ascribed to rapidly rising awareness regarding e-skins among the general population, specifically in the developed nations. In fact, with the proliferating healthy living trend, awareness about the potential health benefits of using electronic skin patches and suits would ensure strong sales in the B2C segment.

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