A hypoallergenic electronic sensor might enable patients to monitor their long-term health.
Researchers in Japan developed the lightweight sensor that can be worn on the skin for a week without discomfort.
“We learned that devices that can be worn for a week or longer for continuous monitoring were needed for practical use in medical and sports applications,” Professor Takao Someya, from the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering, said in a statement.
The sensor is made out of an elastic electrode made from breathable nanoscale meshes that could be used to develop noninvasive e-skin devices to monitor a person’s health continuously over a long period of time. The mesh contains a water-soluble polymer, polyvinyl alcohol and a gold layer.
The device can be applied by spraying a small amount of water on the skin, which sticks easily and dissolves the PVA nanofibers.
The researchers conducted a skin patch test on 20 subjects and found no examples of inflammation after the participants wore the device for a week. They also examined the nanomesh conductor’s permeability with water vapor and found that its porous mesh structure showed superior gas permeability compared to other materials.
The device also showed mechanical durability through bending and stretching, exceeding 10,000 times of a conductor attached on the forefinger.
“It will become possible to monitor patients’ vital signs without causing any stress or discomfort,” Someya said.
The device has also shown promise to enable continuous, precise monitoring of athletes’ physiological signals and bodily motion without impeding their training or performance.