Thesis of Dr. Jessica Fernandez and patent of an epidermal electronic ultrawearable with graphene

06 Apr 2022
Thesis of Dr. Jessica Fernández

Dr. Jessica Fernández, Director of the Master in Industrial Design Engineering, Head of the Design and Projects Area of the Undergraduate Degree in Industrial Design Engineering  and researcher at Elisava Research, has finished with excellence her doctoral thesis Systemic model of a design engineering process using advanced materials. Scientific exploration of smart inks.

This doctoral thesis focuses on the design of a design process for an engineering design using advanced materials. One of the results obtained and with patent P201830504, is a graphene-based epidermal electronic ultrawearable that allows generating and storing personal data.

It stands out as one of the results of the thesis, his Smart Skin 2.0 project that revolves around the possibilities of a new nanotechnology, an epidermal electronic ultra-wearable made of graphene-based materials that easily adheres to the body. Hypoallergenic, non-invasive and without the need to incorporate batteries, this second skin makes it possible to generate and store personal data in a non-invasive way.

Ultrawearable epidermal electronics

The origin arises from research to understand the unusual properties of some materials and propose them as a starting point in the design process aimed at advanced innovation. In this thesis, graphene is taken as a material of interest, especially its mechanical and electrical properties in its two-dimensional state.

For this case, a research on materials and nanotechnologies integrated in the body has been carried out from the scientific and industrial literature, with the aim of designing an ultrawearable of non-invasive epidermal electronics. In the process of experimentation and characterization of materials, different prototypes have been made with carbon, silver and graphene based materials. Among these, Elisava chose the most stable at the time to implement it in a pilot test at the OFFF festival that allowed the graphic design and interaction for it.

In parallel, a series of prototypes have been developed but only focused on the use of graphene composite materials. At the same time, work has been done on the integrated electronics system that allows storing and collecting data about people in reference to their mobility or any connected database. Some possible examples of applications are access to controlled spaces, management of personal health information, access to internet spaces (passwords and services) or physical spaces (such as gyms, airports or shows) or payment systems.

At the prototype stage, this new technology can operate for up to 10 days at a time and maintain data reliability: it has a security level similar to that of a credit card, ID card or even a fingerprint. Another technological advantage of this electronic ultra-wearable is that, thanks to the use of graphene, the system is thinner and more flexible, avoiding fractures in the integrated nanotechnology and improving electrical conductivity.

Finally, a patent related to the design of the Smart Skin 2.0 technology has been granted on September 28, 2021, with reference P201830504.


Thesis supervisors: Dr. Javier Peña, General and Scientific Director of Elisava; Dr. José María Manero, professor at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC).

Special thanks to: Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (ICN2), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Ateneu de Fabricació de Gràcia, Festival OFFF, Casa Seat, Lapso Studios, Elisava, UPC – Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya.