A Purdue University research team, lead by Ramses Martinez, assistant professor of industrial engineering and biomedical engineering, has advanced research into developing stickers that can continually monitor the wearer's activity and alert them about possible heath risks in real time. This technology could be especially helpful for patient's who have recently undergone heart surgery and need continuous monitoring at home.
“For the first time, we have created wearable electronic devices that someone can easily attach to their skin and are made out of paper to lower the cost of personalized medicine,” stated Martinez, whose research was recently published in ACS Advanced Materials and Interfaces.
From the Perdue University article: "Health professionals could use the Purdue stickers as implantable sensors to monitor the sleep of patients because they conform to internal organs without causing any adverse reactions. Athletes could also use the technology to monitor their health while exercising and swimming."
The "smart stickers" are composed of breathable and biocompatible cellulose which is then coated with special molecules to repel water, oil, dust, and bacteria as well as prevent the paper from degrading. They are then patterned in serpentine shapes to make them as thin and stretchable as skin. They adhere to skin so well they become almost imperceptible to the wearer, allowing them to maintain regular movement and activity without impeding the sticker's function. Most importantly, the stickers can be made using current manufacturing techniques and can be produced for as little as a nickel.
“The low cost of these wearable devices and their compatibility with large-scale manufacturing techniques will enable the quick adoption of these new fully disposable, wearable sensors in a variety of health care applications requiring single-use diagnostic systems,” Martinez said.
Read more about the life saving low cost stickers at Purdue University.