Scientists in Tokyo devise skin sensor to monitor health
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.