Energizing Your Skin: Charging Through Your Fingertips

By Jan Lester Lofranco (Ateneo M.S. ECE Student)

From wound healing to cosmetics, and further pushing as far as implantable biomedical devices, skin research has always been one of the forerunners in bioengineering research and development.


In the Ateneo innovations research lab, a group of students have studied the electro-properties of porcine tissue as a guided reference for characterizing the properties of human skin. To characterize how electrical signals behave as they pass through the skin, the researchers used a method known as the frequency response. The frequency response is basically a measure of the strength of your output in relation to your input at different frequencies. It gives the researchers an idea how much of the input’s electrical signal strength has attenuated as it passes through the skin at different depths.

The researches have been piercing the porcine tissue with metallic probes that electrocute the meat at varying frequencies (2 Hz to 2 Mhz). The experiment had two general setups: (1) punctured and (2) non-punctured. As strange as it may seem, the study bore promising results. The group found out that punctured setups measured greater gains beneath the skin. Furthermore, the research extended the study by inserting metal disks inside the porcine tissue. Setups that included metal disks showed increased gains compared to those without. This is very interesting because it shows that energy can be coupled beneath the highly resistive skin surface. Moreover, the researchers found out that there are certain low frequencies, where signal strength is strongest. This invaluable information is currently pushing students in the Ateneo to center their research on harnessing the energy at these low frequencies. Preliminary studies have already begun under this promising field. This technology paves the way to charging the batteries of implantable medical devices such as pacemakers. Other implantable biomedical devices that are being developed may use this technology to “wirelessly” charge their batteries, avoiding unnecessary invasive surgery.

Topic revision: r2 - 03 Sep 2008 - 11:01:56 - BearTiu
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