Designing Flexible and Rigid Medical Wearables To Withstand Everyday Wear-and-Tear

Designing Flexible and Rigid Medical Wearables
This patch, designed by University of California San Diego (UCSD) engineers, tracks blood pressure and heart rate while monitoring the user’s glucose, lactate, alcohol or caffeine levels. (Photo credit: UC San Diego)

Wearable technology is helping consumers take control of their health and wellbeing. Wearable devices can be worn internally as implantable devices such as pacemakers and neuroprosthetics, or they may be worn externally in the form of a ring, a badge, a wristwatch, eyeglasses, jewelry, shoes or clothing. The key considerations for wearable electronics are that they have to be robust, small, consume a small amount of power, and be comfortable to wear. Here are some of the things that should be considered when designing medical wearable devices.

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Conforming to the Realities of Patients’ Lives

Diabetes care applications are a very big market for wearable medical devices. CGM patches are a breakthrough for diabetic care. For the designers, it was very important to make these devices user-friendly and comfortable in order to get widespread adoption. Humans need flexibility to perform everyday chores. So, the wearables must flex and stretch to accommodate a whole range of body types and sizes, writes Justin Spitzer in Molex.

Lightweight and unobtrusive

The favorable ingredients for wearable electronics are lightweight, flexible and conductive materials. Conductive materials in fibrous form such as yarns and fabrics are preferred candidates for wearable electronics by serving as interconnects, functional devices and sensors.

A person checking his smartwatch
Luke Chesser, Unsplash

Minimalistic interface

Users must be able to read whatever you put on the screen, and easily interact with it while moving. Minimalist design is ideal for smartwatches and wearables. Everything from color to typography in wearable UI should be simple and straightforward.

Reliable Power supply

For wearables to truly fulfill their promise of providing remote healthcare, they need to have reliable, compact power sources, meaning small batteries with energy density and also robustness. Additionally, power sources and other electronic components that make up wearable devices need to be cost-effective.

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Improving the efficacy of next-generation of medical wearables

To improve people’s quality of life and eliminate stressors, wearable medical devices need to be life-proofed, comfortable, easy to use, long-lasting in power and personalized.

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Sam Draper () is Online Editor at WT | Wearable Technologies specialized in the field of sports and fitness but also passionated about any new lifestyle gadget on the market. Sam can be contacted at press(at)wearable-technologies.com.