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Wearable patch monitoring your health

New soft electronic stick-on patch collects, analyzes, and diagnoses biosignals and sends data wirelessly to a mobile app. Credit: DGIST

An article published on Nature Communications by researchers at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) in South Korea reports on the successful development of a patch that can be worn on the skin containing a variety of sensors.

This result is leveraging on a study to create soft electronic in a 3D architecture (most of today’s results on soft electronics refer to 2D architecture). In particular researchers are using helicoidal wires that can be stretched and bent with no functionality loss.

The embedded sensors are able to track muscle movement (including acceleration) and electrical activity. As such they can provide data on heart and respiration rate, they can track eye movements and pick up signals from the brain electrical activity.

The patch is made with silicone material that embeds the required electronics. The wiring among the various components can be used as an antenna, to both transmit data and harvest power, so that no battery is required. You take the patch and you stick it on the desired part of your body. The prototype contains some 50 components connected through a grid of over 250 helicoidal wires made of gold chromium and phosphate that behave like springs.

As shown in the photo, an app residing on a smartphone can connect to the patch, retrive and process the data.

Researchers are pointing out that these types of sensors can be used in robotics enhancing the harvesting of data for autonomous systems.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.