The devices are made out of paper to lower the cost of personalized medicine.
The devices are made out of paper to lower the cost of personalized medicine.
Source: Purdue University

Simple stickers may save lives of heart patients

Heart surgery can be traumatic for patients. Having to continuously monitor your status without a doctor when you are back home can be even scarier. Imagine being able to do that with a simple sticker applied to your body. Purdue University researchers have advanced a sticker solution moving it several steps closer to reality.

“For the first time, we have created wearable electronic devices that someone can easily attach to their skin and are made out of paper to lower the cost of personalized medicine,” said Ramses Martinez, a Purdue assistant professor of industrial engineering and biomedical engineering, who led the research team.

The “smart stickers” are made of cellulose, which is both biocompatible and breathable. They can be used to monitor physical activity and alert a wearer about possible health risks in real time.

Health professionals could use the Purdue stickers as implantable sensors to monitor the sleep of patients because they conform to internal organs without causing any adverse reactions. Athletes could also use the technology to monitor their health while exercising and swimming.

These stickers are patterned in serpentine shapes to make the devices as thin and stretchable as skin, making them imperceptible for the wearer.

Since paper degrades fast when it gets wet and human skin is prone to be covered in sweat, these stickers were coated with molecules that repel water, oil, dust and bacteria. Each sticker costs about a nickel to produce and can be made using printing and manufacturing technologies similar to those used to print books at high speed.

“The low cost of these wearable devices and their compatibility with large-scale manufacturing techniques will enable the quick adoption of these new fully disposable, wearable sensors in a variety of health care applications requiring single-use diagnostic systems,” Martinez said.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

Smart wristband monitors heart rates and physical activity

Smart wristband monitors heart rates and physical activity

Engineers have created biosensor technology with a wireless connection to smartphones that will enable a new wave of personal health.

Humanising wearable health technologies

Humanising wearable health technologies

Designer Leah Heiss considers her work as creating “emotional technologies”, i.e. wearable devices based on human-centred design principles. For her, empathy is everything!

Smart textile fibers measure wearer’s health

Smart textile fibers measure wearer’s health

Researchers have developed electronic fibers that, when embedded in textiles, can collect a wealth of information about our bodies by measuring subtle and complex fabrics deformations.

Smart ring detects COVID-19 early

Smart ring detects COVID-19 early

According to new research, the Oura smart ring is indeed suitable for detecting COVID-19 infection up to three days before symptoms appear.

Verifying and validating the clinical usefulness of wearables

Verifying and validating the clinical usefulness of wearables

Researchers have developed a framework that will help data scientists and other researchers use better digital health tools for clinical purposes.

Necklace detects abnormal heart rhythm

Necklace detects abnormal heart rhythm

A necklace which detects abnormal heart rhythm will be showcased for the first time on EHRA Essentials 4 You, a scientific platform of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Sensors woven into a shirt can monitor vital signs

Sensors woven into a shirt can monitor vital signs

Researchers have developed a way to incorporate electronic sensors into stretchy fabrics, allowing them to create shirts or other garments that could be used to monitor vital signs such as temperature, respiration, and heart rate.

Sensor predicts worsening heart failure before hospitalization

Sensor predicts worsening heart failure before hospitalization

A wearable sensor could help doctors remotely detect critical changes in heart failure patients days before a health crisis occurs and could prevent hospitalization.

Can ‘smart toilets’ be the next

Can ‘smart toilets’ be the next

Wearables are transforming the ability to monitor and improve health, but a decidedly low-tech commodity—the humble toilet—may have potential to outperform them all.

Popular articles