Undergoing heart surgery is a big deal. Not only is there the procedure to consider, but there’s the aftermath. You have to continuously monitor your health to make sure your heart stays in good shape. And since you have to monitor at home without a doctor, it can be pretty scary. Now, the process is easier thanks to a new sticker solution by researchers at Purdue University.
These stickers are wearable electronic devices that track and monitor your health. The device is made out of cellulose, which is biocompatible and breathable and it keeps the cost low. They are patterned in serpentine shapes to make them imperceptible for the wearer. And since paper degrades faster when it gets wet, researchers covered the stickers with molecules that repel water, oil, dust, and bacteria, all usually found on human skin.
Purdue’s smart stickers can be used to measure physical activity and even alert you about possible health risks in real time. Researchers also feel they could be used as implantable sensors to monitor the sleep of patients since they conform to internal organs without causing any adverse reactions. It could even prove useful to athletes allowing them to monitor their health while exercising and swimming.
Thanks to the sticker’s simple design and cost-effective materials, it only costs roughly five cents to make. Not only will they be cheap, but they’ll be easy to mass-produce using printing and other processes used to print materials at high speeds. Ramses Martinez, a Purdue assistant professor of industrial engineering and biomedical engineering, who led the research team, believes they’ll also be easily adopted by the masses.
“The low cost of these wearable devices and their compatibility with large-scale manufacturing techniques will enable the quick adoption of these new fully disposable, wearable sensors in a variety of health care applications requiring single-use diagnostic systems.” — Ramses Martinez
Purdue says the stickers are close to being a reality. If so, it could bring big changes to how we monitor our health. With the rising costs of coverage, it can be difficult for those who need constant health monitoring to keep up. They may even be forced to skip doctor’s visits to save money. Having a smart device monitoring your health not only simplifies the process, it could save your life.