Asst. Prof. Sihong Wang has been named one of 35 winners in MIT Technology Review's list of Innovators Under 35 for 2020, a peer-reviewed annual award that recognizes those “whose work has the greatest potential to transform the world.”
Wang, assistant professor of molecular engineering, was recognized for his development of a new class of electronics that are built by intrinsically stretchable polymers. By changing the form factor of electronics—from rigid and brittle to soft and deformable—the innovation opens up new possibilities like wearable technology that adheres to skin and implantable medical devices that could be as soft as the tissue and chemically modified to be compatible with the biological system, minimizing side effects like inflammation, bleeding, or bruising.
“I was very honored to receive this recognition,” said Wang. “I believe this can help our research field attract more attention around the world, especially from the younger generation of researchers.”
“The MIT Technology Review innovators list is a highly competitive honor and a meaningful recognition of Sihong’s accomplishments,” said Matthew Tirrell, dean of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME), who nominated Wang. “His pioneering work in stretchable, polymer-based bioelectronics has the potential to greatly enhance the biomedical field.”
The goal for Wang and his lab is to use these stretchable polymers to improve interactions between electronics and the human body, achieving functions that are not possible with existing electronics. One possibility that Wang sees for the technology is to use it to monitor an individual’s health over long periods of time, providing data that can be used to deliver individualized health care.
“If I had to say what’s the most exciting thing we’re working toward,” said Wang, “it would be to have stretchable electronic polymers blur the physical and functional boundaries between electronics and human bodies.”
Global list winners are showcased in MIT Technology Review’s July/August issue and on their website. The publication also recognizes global winners every year at the Emtech MIT conference.