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Flexible, implantable LEDs look set to start a new body modification craze

Vlad Savov

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LED lights are cool, you're cool, why not combine the two, right? We doubt that's quite the reasoning that led to this international research project, but it's certainly an appealing way to look at it. Our old buddy John Rogers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has headed up a research team with participants from the US, China, Korea, and Singapore, who have together produced and demonstrated a new flexible and implantable LED array. Bettering previous efforts at inserting lights under the human skin, this approach allows for stretching and twisting by as much as 75 percent, while the whole substrate is encased in thin silicon rubber making it waterproof. Basically, it's a green light to subdermal illumination, which could aid such things as monitoring the healing of wounds, activating light-sensitive drug delivery, spectroscopy, and even robotics. By which we're guessing they mean our robot overlords will be able to color-code us more easily. Yeah, that must be it.

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