Researchers in the USA and China have just developed incredible electronic devices that can totally disintegrate in a person's eyes. Health experts believe these new environmentally friendly devices could dramatically help eye doctors in the future.
Developers made these devices by placing a few electronic sensors into a polymer polyanhydride film. They then added ambient moisture to test how effectively the electronic components dissolved. Researchers found that all of the inorganic materials in these devices were easily broken down and digested after being exposed to moisture.
The scientists involved in this study said doctors can control the lifespan of these electronic devices by changing the humidity level in the room. Once the device is exposed to a certain amount of moisture, it will naturally dissolve on its own. Researchers say these devices can last anywhere between a few days to a week.
Although Dr. James Wolffsohn wasn't involved in this study, he's one of the biggest supporters of this field of research. Dr. Wolffsohn, who teaches optometry at Aston University, said, "This is an interesting discovery that could be refined in future to place sensor electronics on the ocular surface."
A few possible applications of this technology include placing electronic sensors in eyedrops or using electronic sensors to send messages to eye doctors during a surgical procedure. These hi-tech devices could be able to detect critical data such as tear film osmolarity and the rate of eye inflammation.
Glaucoma experts believe that these new devices could give clearer readings on a patient's intraocular pressure. One of the key indicators of the early stages of glaucoma is a higher than average eye pressure.
Head authors on this study include Professors Yang Gao, Ying Zhang, and Xu Wang. The main three universities involved in this research include the University of Houston, Tsinghua University, and the University of Science and Technology of China.
Anyone interested in reading more about this exciting discovery should check out the September 2017 edition of Science Advances. This article was published under the title, "Moisture-triggered physically transient electronics."