S-t-r-e-t-c-h that sensor patch! Stanford’s breakthrough for health wearables

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Stamford-stretchy-sensor.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /](Photo: Nature) Here’s a stretchy polymer with the right stuff for wearables. It can stretch, wrinkle and heal like skin. It can be ‘healed’ if damaged. Most of all, according to the Chemical & Engineering News article summarizing the Nature letter (PDF link) authored by the Stanford University team, it “has an electronic performance on par with amorphous silicon, the material that’s used in transistor arrays that control liquid-crystal display pixels. And it maintains that electrical performance even when stretched to double its original size.” We have been following stretchy sensors for some years, highlighting the pioneering work of John Rogers, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and his team, whose work has been commercially marketed through MC10 [our back file here], but the difference here is the process. Rogers and others have been meticulously building rigid sensors onto a rubbery material that has some ‘give’. In Rogers’ words, “Stretchy mechanics and efficient charge transport typically do not go together.”  Bao’s group has developed “clever chemistries that seem to capture both properties in a single material.” Early days still, but tremendous potential in healthcare wearables for those who truly understand the technical aspects of this and develop accordingly. Hat tip to Jerry Kolosky of Panasonic via LinkedIn

Wearables: the ‘comfy sensor patch’ changes color, a cushion nags on posture

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/skin_heart_monitor-1.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]Another sensor patch out of the John A. Rogers ‘skunk works’ at the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign is designed to be continually worn (presumably in a discreet–not discrete–place) and is capable of monitoring temperature and moistness on the skin’s surface, relating to cardiovascular health and skin care. This ‘epidermal photonic sensor’  has 3,600 0.5mm squared “thermochromic liquid crystals patterned into large-scale, pixelated arrays on thin elastomeric substrates” (meaning a stretchy sensor). Based on this Editor’s reading of the research abstract, color changes with temperature; algorithms and a digital camera shot of the patch then turn temperature data into decipherable health information. What’s not known is how the sensor information transmits. Gizmag, Nature Communications (abstract) Rogers’ previously developed sensors: Biostamp and Reebok Checklight TTA 28 July, the original ‘comfy sensor patch’ 10 April and 8 April.

And watch how you sit. The Darma seat cushion adds 1mm fiberoptic sensors (more…)