Sci­en­tists in Tokyo de­vise skin sen­sor to mon­i­tor health

BioSpectrum (Asia) - - Science News -

Sci­en­tists at the Univer­sity of Tokyo, Ja­pan have de­vel­oped a hy­poal­ler­genic, breath­able sen­sor that can be worn on the skin con­tin­u­ously for a week without dis­com­fort, and may pave the way for wear­able de­vices that can mon­i­tor health con­tin­u­ously over a long pe­riod.

The team has de­vel­oped an elec­trode con­structed from nanoscale meshes con­tain­ing a wa­ter-sol­u­ble poly­mer, polyvinyl al­co­hol (PVA), and a gold layer - ma­te­ri­als con­sid­ered safe and bi­o­log­i­cally com­pat­i­ble with the body.

The device can be ap­plied by spray­ing a tiny amount of wa­ter, which dis­solves the PVA nanofi­bres and al­lows it to stick eas­ily to the skin. It con­formed seam­lessly to curvi­lin­ear sur­faces of hu­man skin, such as sweat pores and the ridges of an in­dex fin­ger’s fin­ger­print pat­tern.

The re­searchers next con­ducted a skin patch test on 20 sub­jects and de­tected no in­flam­ma­tion on the par­tic­i­pants’ skin af­ter they had worn the device for a week. In ad­di­tion to nurs­ing care and med­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tions, the new device prom­ises to en­able con­tin­u­ous, pre­cise mon­i­tor­ing of ath­letes’ phys­i­o­log­i­cal sig­nals and bod­ily mo­tion without im­ped­ing their train­ing or per­for­mance.

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