Advanced Flexible Microfiber Sensor for Healthcare Monitoring
Researchers at the National University of Singapore have developed a microfiber sensor that can be worn or placed next to the skin.
This ultrathin and flexible device provides information related to heart rate, blood pressure, and stiffness in blood vessels. It is preferred device over conventional bulky blood pressure and heart rate monitors. This novel technology can be a useful component in wearable devices to track and monitor provide continuous health parameters. It could help physicians with diagnosis of various diseases.
The research team was focused on designing something that could integrate with wearable devices with smaller size, highly portable, and less expensive as compared to conventional equipment. The design integrates a liquid metallic alloy, which acts as a sensing element within a soft and flexible silicone microtube. The sensing element is highly sensitive to mechanical deformation. When the sensor is placed on the skin, it can sense and relay information regarding the pulsatile movement of blood vessels.
“As our sensor functions like a conductive thread, it can be easily woven into a glove which can be worn by doctors to track vital signs of patients in real-time. This approach offers convenience and saves time for healthcare workers, while patients can enjoy greater comfort,” said Chwee Teck, a researcher involved in the study.
According to Medical Sensors Market report published by Coherent Market Insights, medical sensors integrated in microfibers can monitor physical functions of the body and convert it into an electrical or optical signal, which plays a major role in the monitoring of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular, and respiratory diseases. The microfiber can measure a patient’s pulse waveform in real-time, which can be used to extrapolate heart rate and blood pressure. It can assess stiffness in blood vessels of patients suffering from atherosclerosis. It has application in monitoring the force exerted by pressure bandages for venous ulcers. The sensor can measure the pressure exerted by the bandage, which allow clinicians to monitor the status of dressing.
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