The popularity of smart watches, activity trackers, and other wearable devices is in large part due to the hope that such tools can help monitor health. While new products keep coming out, progress on embedding sensors that can monitor things other than one’s heart rate and activity level has stalled. Now researches at Rutgers University are reporting on a smart wristband that can sample the user’s blood and perform cell counts.
The device, that has electronics placed onto a flexible circuit board, uses a tiny needle to draw blood from the wrist. The blood then passes through a narrow channel fitted with gold electrodes that can count different types of cells passing by, in addition to other small objects.
“It’s like a Fitbit but has a biosensor that can count particles, so that includes blood cells, bacteria and organic or inorganic particles in the air,” in a published statement said Mehdi Javanmard, senior author of the study.
As the device produces data, it can pass it onto the built-in Bluetooth module that can share the readings with a paired smartphone or other compatible device. This allows the cell counts to be immediately sent to one’s healthcare provider that can use them to manage disease, make therapy adjustments, and to form new diagnoses.
The technology may not only improve monitoring for the benefit patients, but may also reduce the demands placed on hospital labs that have to do multiple cell counts on a daily basis.
Open access study in journal Microsystems & Nanoengineering: Fully integrated wearable impedance cytometry platform on flexible circuit board with online smartphone readout…