Electronic stickers to streamline large-scale ‘internet of things’

Billions of objects ranging from smartphones and watches to buildings, machine parts and medical devices have become wireless sensors of their environments, expanding a network called the “internet of things.”

Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Virginia have developed a new fabrication method that makes tiny, thin-film peelable from a surface. The technique not only eliminates several manufacturing steps and the associated costs, but also allows any object to sense its environment or be controlled through the application of a high-tech sticker.

Eventually, these stickers could also facilitate wireless communication. The researchers demonstrate capabilities on various objects in a paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We could customize a sensor, stick it onto a drone, and send the drone to dangerous areas to detect gas leaks, for example,” said Chi Hwan Lee, Purdue assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering.

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