An international team of engineers have developed a discreet wearable that measures a number of health metrics when stuck to human skin.
The electronic skin microsystem tracks health data on movement and respiration, as well as electrical activity in the heart, muscles, eyes and brain and then wirelessly transmits it to a smartphone app.
The technology was developed by Professor of Robotics Engineering at South Korea’s Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Kyung-In Jang, and the Director of the US’ Northwestern University’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics, John A. Rogers.
The developers believe their invention is an ideal health monitor because it’s very flexible as it’s made out of soft silicone, is only four centimetres big and it can stick to almost any part of the human body.
In a paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the engineers explained that the electronic skin contains about 50 components connected by a network of 250 tiny wire coils embedded in protective silicone.
The tiny wire coils in the device are 3D, which maximises flexibility, and can stretch and contract like a spring without breaking. The coils and sensor components are also configured in a spider web pattern that ensures uniform and extreme levels of stretchability and bendability in any direction. It also enables tighter packing of components, minimising size. The electronic skin is powered wirelessly.
The engineers believe the electronic skin could be used in a variety of applications, including continuous health monitoring and disease treatment.
“Combining big data and artificial intelligence technologies, the wireless biosensors can be developed into an entire medical system which allows portable access to collection, storage and analysis of health signals and information,” said Professor Jang.
“We will continue further studies to develop electronic skins which can support interactive telemedicine and treatment systems for patients in blind areas for medical services such as rural houses in mountain village,” concluded Professor Jang.