Scientists have developed a small, soft patch that can be placed on skin people and gather various information about their bodies. Although the patch is only the size of a stamp, it is able to provide information about people's vital signs, as well as process what they have drunk or eaten, according to the researchers.
Scientists claim that in addition to the continuous monitoring blood pressure and heart rate, the patch can also see how much glucose, lactate, alcohol or caffeine is in a person's blood.
Another very important feature is that this patch could also be used on patients who would otherwise be difficult to detect, including children.
Lu Yin, a doctoral student in nanotechnology at the University of California, and who co-authored a new study detailing the research required for the patch, said this type of wearable would be very helpful as it would help. people with underlying medical conditions to monitor their health on a regular basis. He added that the patch will also serve as an excellent tool for remote monitoring of patients, especially during the pandemic. COVID-19 that people can make limited movements and visits to clinics.
Existing sensors - which are integrated into consumer Appliances, like the Apple Watches - can monitor people's heart rate and the amount of oxygen in their blood. More specialized devices allow more specific monitoring, such as glucose levels in people with diabetes.
Scientists claim that the new patch placed on the body allows all of this to happen at the same time - and does so without the invasive and potentially annoying procedures required under other conditions, such as catheter placement deep into human arteries.
While all the sensors are concentrated in the patch, it requires very specialized engineering for each of its different readings. To feel lactic, caffeine and alcohol, for example, the patch releases a drug on the skin to make it sweat and then examines the sweat itself for chemicals.
Despite all this technology has been incorporated into the small patch that can collect information about a person's body, in tests involving alcohol consumption and exercise, it worked just like specialized equipment such as pressure cuffs and respirators, the researchers report.
This new research is the result of two different efforts at the UC San Diego Center for Wearable Sensors. It combines work to develop new wearables that can track a number of different readings at the same time, monitoring everything - from chemical to electrophysiological changes - to another work that appeared to create soft, elastic patches that can be placed on the skin and monitor a person's blood pressure.
The new study, published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, combines these two efforts with the aim of creating a patch that can easily stick to the skin and collect various information.
Scientists hope to be able to add more sensors, including the patch's ability to detect certain diseases. They also aim to make the sensor smaller and make it possible to disconnect it from the power supply and the screen required for its operation. If they succeed, they will make the patch a complete wearable system.