A discrete new 'skin-like' health monitor could be used to monitor a range of conditions from dry skin to cardiovascular disease.
Created by a team from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the monitor measures less than a square inch and is designed to be worn continuously. It is embedded with thousands of liquid crystals that will change color in response to heat, which could allow the wear to track blood flow rate—a sign of cardiovascular health—as well as when the skin has become dry (which is indicated by a change in thermal conductivity). The team also developed an algorithm that processes the temperature information into an "accurate health report" in less than 30 seconds.
According to John A. Rogers, the paper's corresponding author, the results of the device "provide the first examples of ‘epidermal’ photonic sensors." The device has also been shown to provide results comparable to more expensive and limited infrared technology currently in use.
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