Simple ‘smart sticker’ monitors health at home

Posted on 7 Nov 2018 by Maddy White

Having to continuously monitor your health at home after an invasive surgical procedure is scary. But, imagine being able to do that with a simple sticker.

Researchers have patented an epidermal sticker that monitors health - image courtesy of Purdue University.
Researchers have patented an epidermal sticker that monitors health – image courtesy of Purdue University.

Researchers have patented an electronic epidermal sticker that monitors health and can easily be applied to a patient’s wrist.

The 2cm advanced sticker solution was designed by a team at Purdue University, and moves healthcare one step closer to the concept of personalised care and wearable devices.

Wearable devices are growing in popularity, and it is no surprise. From measuring UV exposure, to making off-site work safer and even soothing the affects of diabetes. It seems wearable technology will integrate into many different sectors and markets in the coming years.

These particular “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.

Since paper degrades fast when it gets wet and human skin is prone to be covered in sweat, these wearable stickers were coated with molecules that repel water, oil, dust and bacteria.

Why personalised medicine?

The concept of personalised medicines is not new – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

While the concept of personalised medicine is not new, and experts have historically always been working to personalise care to individuals’ needs.

Never before has it been possible to predict, examine and identify a patient’s requirements as extensively as is possible today.

Experts are able to carry out whole genome sequencing, use data and informatics, and exploit wearable technology to cater to specific people.

Personalised medicine is a move away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the treatment and care of patients with a particular condition, to one which uses new methods to better manage patients’ health.

Embedding a personalised medicine approach into mainstream healthcare is the journey experts, scientists and healthcare professionals are broaching.

Each sticker costs about 5p to produce, and can be made using printing and manufacturing technologies reportedly similar to those used to print books.

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

The low cost of these wearable devices and their compatibility with large-scale manufacturing techniques, could enable the quick adoption of these new wearable sensors in a variety of healthcare applications.

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