Researchers at the University of Manchester have demonstrated how graphene's conductivity and flexibility will prove crucial to wearable electronic applications, opening the door to battery-free healthcare and fitness monitoring, phones, internet-ready devices and chargers to be incorporated into clothing and ‘smart skin’ applications (printed graphene-based sensors integrated with other 2D materials and put onto a patient’s skin to monitor temperature, strain and moisture levels).
The researchers printed graphene to create transmission lines and antennae and experimented with these in communication devices. They used a mannequin to which they attached graphene-enabled antennae on each arm, and found that the devices were able to communicate with each other, effectively creating an on-body communications system. These results show that such graphene-based components have the required quality and functionality for wireless wearable devices.
The researchers view this as a significant step toward a truly graphene-enabled wireless wearable communications system in the near future.