imec, a Belgium-based R&D and innovation hub, active in the fields of nanoelectronics and digital technologies, and the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, presented their latest vitals monitoring patch at the recently concluded CES 2019. The disposable device has a monitoring lifetime of over a week, but it’s safe for the environment because of its non-toxic batteries.
The new health patch, developed in the framework of the Holst Centre in Eindhoven, offers unprecedented comfort and a long battery life, previously not seen in this type of device. It is also cheap because it can be manufactured at a fraction of the cost of previous generations.
“A crucial technology improvement in this new generation health patch is the integration of a wide range of sensing capabilities into imec’s MUSEIC V3 system-on-chip solution. As a result, the device is almost an order of magnitude cheaper, while the high degree of integration makes it much more energy-efficient. The significant cost reduction means that the patch can now be used as a disposable solution, an important benefit for medical treatment,” says Bernard Grundlehner, System Architect – Connected Health Solutions at imec the Netherlands.
The patch is made of skin friendly and biocompatible materials. The base is made of a very thin, flexible and elastic TPU material, says a press release.
Most of the electronic functionality is performed by printed electronics technologies and integrated dry electrodes provide a stable and high-quality electrical connection to the body. A comfortable silicone adhesive is used to provide long-term adhesion at high comfort.
“Completely watertight, the new health patch is built for maximum user comfort and can be worn for up to seven days before needing to be replaced,” explains Dr. Jeroen van den Brand, Program Director ‘Printed Electronics’, TNO.
imec researchers collaborated with Maxell Ltd. to develop an environmentally friendly battery which does not contain any toxic substances. While competing solutions generally advertise a battery life of 3-4 days, imec’s solution has a battery life of over 7 days, in many cases even longer, depending on the specific configurations.
For patients, a single, disposable patch that can be worn for several days is more convenient and can reduce hospital visits as it no longer needs to be returned after use. This is particularly important for chronically ill patients as it provides an affordable, single-use device that can be easily used to monitor their vital signs and physical activity at home.