Scientists at the University of Tokyo have developed an elastic display that can be affixed to the skin to display the waveform of an electrocardiogram, or other health parameters, detected by a skin sensor. When combined with a communication module, the system can transmit the data to a smartphone and the cloud, allowing doctors to monitor patients remotely.
Wearable sensors that can record a variety of patient vitals, and then transmit these data to the cloud, are becoming more common. While it is important that health data are transmitted to clinicians, empowering patients to monitor their own conditions is also important, as this can reduce the burden on healthcare systems and help patients to feel in control.
The new device aims to address both these needs by displaying data visually, directly on the skin, and also transmitting the data to clinicians. The idea is that this visual display can help elderly or infirm people to access and interpret the information recorded by the device, as they can sometimes struggle to use existing devices such as smartphones.
The display consists of an array of micro LEDs and deformable electrical wiring. The components are mounted within a flexible rubber sheet that can be attached to the skin. The device also incorporates a versatile skin sensor that can measure temperature and pressure, along with assessing the electrical properties of muscle tissue. In this recent study, the scientists showed that the sensor could also record an electrocardiogram.
The research team hopes to bring the device to market within the next three years. “The current aging society requires user-friendly wearable sensors for monitoring patient vitals in order to reduce the burden on patients and family members providing nursing care,” said Takao Someya, a researcher involved in the study. “Our system could serve as one of the long-awaited solutions to fulfill this need, which will ultimately lead to improving the quality of life for many.”
Check out the display in this video from University of Tokyo:
Research presented at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas…