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

click to enlargeAnother 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 that stay charged for a month to a normal-appearing seat cushion. The sensors feed to an app (iPhone, Android, desktop) which monitors time sitting, respiration, heart rate and posture. It reminds you to 1) get up and move around, 2) mind your posture by sitting properly and stretching  as well as 3) when your stress is high as indicated by rising respiration and heart rate. Obviously it has great appeal to those of us chained to our computers–and back pain sufferers–because it’s at nearly $130,000 pledged of a $40,000 goal on Kickstarter, targeting a June 2015 release to backers at about $199. They are promising CE (but not FDA) certification and Apple HealthKit readiness. Also Gizmag.

 

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