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Medical Applications of Flexible Electronics
Flexible electronics are featuring more and more in the technologies we use every day – you only have to look at the growing popularity of fitness trackers to see this. One industry that is set to be transformed by the use of flexible electronics is the medical sector. Flexible sensors are revolutionising healthcare in more ways than you might think. As flexible electronics provider FlexEnable suggest in this blog post, the use of flexible sensors will ensure that medical technology is comfortable to wear to an extent that it becomes ‘unawareable’, whilst providing real life data that can help to pre-empt medical emergencies and save lives.
Here are just some of the ways flexible electronics are changing the face of the medical field:
Flexible sensors are changing the way in which athletes are training; this article from The Engineer explains how researchers in the US have developed biosensors that will alert athletes to exhaustion when competing and training for extreme events such as marathons. The flexible sensors measure chemical by-products in the athlete’s sweat and alert them when their fatigue becomes extreme.
Medical professionals and parents alike will soon too be able to benefit from flexible sensors when caring for new-borns. The University of Tokyo Engineering School announced in this press release that they have recently developed a flexible sensor that can be worn by a person to monitor changes in body temperature. The lightweight sensor reacts to thermal changes in human body temperature, making it much easier to detect when new-borns become unwell.
There’s even talk of flexible sensors being used to monitor a pilots’ health during flights. Heartbeat, hydration, temperature and other vital signs could soon be monitored via a wearable patch, according to the American Chemical Society. This technology would be hugely beneficial in helping fight fatigue in pilots and keeping the ground team more connected to what’s going on in the cockpit.
Even Google is getting involved
Internet powerhouse Google is getting involved in healthcare too. The company has recently began research into a wearable device which will collect data that is of more medical value than the average smartwatch. The sensors will measure heartbeat and skin temperature using an electrocardiogram and Google says the device could be used for Parkinson’s disease sufferers or to monitor heart attack patients.
Verily, the company formally known as Google Life Sciences, has also been using flexible technology to develop a contact lens that can detect glucose levels in the wearer – limiting the amount of time diabetics will have to spend taking blood samples.
There’s no doubt that there are numerous benefits to all of these amazing medical concepts – these developments are proof that wearable technology is transforming the medical industry for the better, and this just couldn’t be done without flexible electronics.