Researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden Have developed a tiny, paper-thin patch that collects vital health information. The Bio-patch sensor is versitile, inexpensive and comfortable to wear.
The battery that powers the Bio-patch is extremely thin which helps make the patch small and comfortable. Geng Yang, a researcher at JRC iPack centre at KTH says about the patch:
“Patient comfort will be an important success factor for the next generation of medical technology. With the Bio-patch, all electronic components are mounted on a flexible foil ,which makes it easy to attach to the skin and wear comfortably.”
The patch is discarded after use.
One of the great aspects of the patch is its versatility. The patch measures bioelectrical signals through the skin and gathers data on different parts of the body, depending on where it is placed.
It can measure heart signals and creates an electrocardiograph (ECG) if placed on the chest. It measures brain electrical activity and creates an electroencephalograph (EEG) if placed on the skull. And it measures muscle response to stimulation from the nervous system and creates an electromyogram (EMG) if placed on the forearm. It also has a built-in sensor that constantly monitors body temperature.
With a wireless connection, the patient can see the readings on a smartphone or send the data to a healthcare professional for interpretation.
So far, interest has focused on the heart since heart diseases account for the majority of all deaths in the EU. However, Bio-patch can also detect brain disease by generating EMG data that helps physicians distinguish muscle changes from nerological problems.
Geng Yang states that the thinking behind the Bio-patch is that it will be a big help in self-care. Healthcare is moving out of the hospitals and into the home and Bio-patch can help with that transition. “Bio-patch is a step towards what is known as self-care, which is valuble especially for patients discharged after an operation, or for the elderly living unassisted.”
A sucessful prototype of Bio-patch has been developed and the device has attracted the interest of several companies.
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