A new kind of electronic skin microsystem was developed that tracks your heart rate, respiration, muscle movement as well as other health data, and it wirelessly transmits it to a smartphone. This electronic skin has some advantages over trackers that are currently existing in the market, including greater flexibility, smaller size and it has the ability to stick the self-adhesive patch anywhere on the body.
This soft silicone skin patch was developed by an international team that is led by Kyung-In Jang, a professor of robotics engineering at South Korea’s Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, along with John A. Rogers, the director of Northwestern University’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics. Their new device was described in the journal Nature Communications.
The new device has around 50 components that is connected by a network of 250 tiny wire coils that are embedded in protective silicone. Its soft materials allow it to adapt to the shape of the body, unlike other fitness trackers that are hard. It is capable of transmitting data on movement and respiration, and also electrical activity of the heart, muscles, eyes and brain to a partner smartphone application.
The tiny wires and coils in the device are three-dimensional, therefore maximizing flexibility. The coils can stretch and contract just like a spring without breaking. The whole system is wirelessly powered rather than other fitness trackers that are charged by a battery.
This new device can be used in a wide variety of applications. This includes continuous health monitoring as well as disease treatment. According to professor Jang, “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.” He added “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.” This could also be used in robotics or autonomous navigation.