University of Illinois and Northwestern University’s health-monitoring patch (via UI)
Wearable electronics (or computing) have become quite popular since the first armband was marketed for the iPod about a decade ago. Recent years have seen the rise of devices such as Google Glass, Sony’s SmartWatch and Nike’s Hyperdunk+ basketball shoes just to name a few of the wearable tech that’s currently on the market. Another rise in popularity among wearable electronics centers on health and fitness with devices such as Nike’s FuelBand and Razer’s Nabu Smartband, which monitor physical fitness goals and social activities and displays that information on both mobile devices and built-in OLED screens on the bands themselves. While those devices are great, they don’t really monitor user’s health and can be a ‘fashion faux pa’ in certain situations. In those cases, users may want to look into what the University of Illinois and Northwestern University have recently developed with their health-monitoring patch. The patch was constructed with off-the-shelf electronics that monitor conditions such as heart health (EKG and EEG) and relays that information wirelessly to mobile devices or computers that healthcare professionals can monitor in real time. The device can be outfitted with a host of different sensors that can monitor everything from temperatures to heart rate and everything in between, depending on what’s needed. The patch itself was constructed of a thin plastic microfluidic envelope, which houses the microelectronics that are suspended on tiny raised points that allow the patch to stretch and move naturally on the wearers skin. The electronics are tied together using ‘origami-like’ folding wires that move in an accordion fashion, allowing for stretching without breaking.
The patch is battery powered and is recharged using resonant power inductors (located externally on the patch) that grab energy wirelessly from external power sources (unknown as to what kind at this time). It’s unknown as to when the health-monitoring patch will be available as its development is still ongoing, however with the use of off-the-shelf components, it may be released in the near future.
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