Electrode sensor transfers biometrics via cloud

By Laura Lovett

A new elastic electrode sensor paired with a wireless communication module can noninvasively monitor a patient’s biometric data and send it to a doctor via the cloud. The technology also allows for the monitoring to be displayed on the patient’s body — for example, electrocardiogram waves can visually appear on the transparent wearable in real-time. 

It may sound — and look — like something straight out of a Star Trek episode, but researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed the stretchable wearable, which uses on-skin electrode sensors to monitor vitals and electrocardiograms. 

"The current aging society requires user-friendly wearable sensors for monitoring patient vitals in order to reduce the burden on patients and family members providing nursing care," Takao Someya, professor of electrical engineering and information systems at the University of Tokyo and author of a study on the technology, said in a statement. "Our system could serve as one of the long-awaited solutions to fulfill this need, which will ultimately lead to improving the quality of life for many.”

The sensors are breathable and can be worn for up to a week without discomfort, according to a statement from the University of Tokyo. Researchers made the sensors out of nanomesh electrodes and a wireless communication module, and claim that the technology will allow doctors to monitor patient’s health remotely. 

“In the future we envision human-friendly skin electrodes that will lead to improving the quality of human life,” Someya, said in a video about the research. 

But that isn’t the only novel ultra thin wearable that was in the news this week. Researchers at the University of Washington have been able to use tissue paper coated with nanocomposites as a sensor to detect a pulse, a blink of an eye, and other movements.

"The major innovation is a disposable wearable sensor made with cheap tissue paper," Jae-Hyun Chung, senior author of the paper, said in a statement. "When we break the specimen, it will work as a sensor.”

Researchers took paper towels and doused it with carbon nanotube-laced water, which conduct electrical activity. Because the fibers in the paper are both vertical and horizontal when torn, the direction of the tear can let the sensor know what is happening, according to a statement.

This technology could help track how special needs children walk at a home test or could be used to help occupational therapist treat seniors, according to a release from the University of Washington.