The health-monitoring technology has grown some folds in the last couple of years. The market is filled with a number of fitness trackers and smartwatches that can keep a continuous record of your health. Even the medical world now believes that these devices can indeed play a big role in maintaining a good health. The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) recently published a report on how fitness trackers can help you detect heart problems that elude your doctor. Then came the FDA approved Embrace Watch, a fitness tracker that can detect abnormalities in the brain functioning. But the technology just won't stop there. A group of researchers from the University of Tokyo have now developed an e-skin that can measure your heartbeat.
The e-skin devised by the talented group of researchers, in collaboration with a Japanese printing company Dai Nippon Printing, can measure your heartbeat and display them in real time on a skin display. The ultrathin patch is made from flexible, breathable nanomesh electrode and comprises of a stretchable wiring with an array of 16 x 24 micro LEDs. The patch, when pasted on your hand (or anywhere else the sensor works), will detect your heartbeat and the LEDs will display basic graphics output image. The idea for the patch is not only to project health information to the wearer, but also to let other peoples know what’s wrong in case of an emergency.
An impressive fact about the e-skin is that can pair with a smartphone for storing the biometric data. The patch can even transmit the data to the cloud.
We've seen similar stretchable displays before, but they fall apart quickly after exposure to air and the usual stretching and twisting of your skin. However, the researchers of this particular device believe that it offers better durability than previous examples of the technology. The patch can be stretched to a maximum of 45% of its original length. They also claim that the sensor, built using conventional circuit board manufacturing techniques, won't cause any inflammation for about a week of continuous usage.
So when will we see this e-skin in the real market? Dai Nippon Printing hopes to start mass production of the skin within the next 3 years, with improved reliability and the ability to cover larger areas. Should all go well, it could take a lot pressure off the home healthcare systems. This will eventually reduce the burden on patients and family members, enabling them carry on with their lives relatively unhindered.