UISilk – Towards Interfacing the Body

This project resulted from a research stay at Tufts University in Boston (MA), USA. The material exploration into possiblities and probabilities of transient silk has led to the formulation of the hypothetical application scenario You, I, Silk (UISilk), and examines the overlap of transient electronics, ubiquitious biosensing and design in the context of this biodegradable material. The speculation on potential impact of silk through the lens of organic and non-digital sensing, offering hereby an extended perspective on programmable biomarkers, their potential for Citizen Science and current sensing paradigms.

UISilk proposes a hypothetical system of coupled devices made from biocompatible silkworm silk that the individual user will carry in the following way: one silken device (sticker) will be programmed with a longer degradation time of several days depending on individual necessity of monitoring and liking (See Figure 2). This silken device consists of a self- adhesive film to be applied on the thin skin of the inner forearm. This film is tuned with light- emitting, organic electronics (OLET), which emit patterns of lights in response to the released biomarkers of the swallowed second device (pill) (See Figure 1).

UISilk biosensing diagram: (1) pill intake — (2) system configuration/ stool sample — (3) circular bio-manufacture; (4) second pill intake, (5) visualisation with coupling device (figure 2).

UISilk biosensing diagram: (1) pill intake — (2) system configuration/ stool sample — (3) circular bio-manufacture; (4) second pill intake, (5) visualisation with coupling device (figure 2).

From top left: Silk in raw shape & reverse engineered into liquid state, turned into a transparent silken sheet, silken foam and tuned into silken electronics (transient electronics). (Photos taken by Veronica Ranner during a research stay with SilkLab, Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts).

From top left: Silk in raw shape & reverse engineered into liquid state, turned into a transparent silken sheet, silken foam and tuned into silken electronics (transient electronics). (Photos taken by Veronica Ranner during a research stay with SilkLab, Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts).

Figure 1 — The silken pill, tuned with biomarkers.

Figure 1 — The silken pill, tuned with biomarkers.

Figure 2 — The silken skin- adhesive sticker (left) responds to the released biomarkers by emitting light patterns (right).

Figure 2 — The silken skin- adhesive sticker (left) responds to the released biomarkers by emitting light patterns (right).

 

Key words: Smart Material Interface, SMI, Material User Interface, MUI, Silk, Transient Electronics, Body Interface, Wearable Computing, Biodigital;

Ranner, V. (2013). UISilk — Towards Interfacing the Body. In Smart Material Interfaces: Another Step to a Material Future: p. 13–18, Proceedings of 15th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction. ACM: New York, USA.