Researchers Develop Wireless Sensors to Track Health

Saturday, August 17, 2019 - 11:21

Researchers of Stanford University have succeeded in developing wireless experimental stickers which can stick to the skin and track the health.

According to the Stanford University official website, researchers develop the stickers that can pick up physiological signals emanating from the skin, then wirelessly beam these health readings to a receiver clipped onto clothing. It’s all part of a system called BodyNet.

To demonstrate this wearable technology, the researchers stuck sensors to the wrist and abdomen of one test subject to monitor the person’s pulse and respiration by detecting how their skin stretched and contracted with each heartbeat or breath.

Likewise, stickers on the person’s elbows and knees tracked arm and leg motions by gauging the minute tightening or relaxation of the skin each time the corresponding muscle flexed.

Zhenan Bao, the chemical engineering professor whose lab described the system in an Aug. 15 article in Nature Electronics, thinks this wearable technology, which they call BodyNet, will first be used in medical settings such as monitoring patients with sleep disorders or heart conditions.

Her lab is already trying to develop new stickers to sense sweat and other secretions to track variables such as body temperature and stress. Her ultimate goal is to create an array of wireless sensors that stick to the skin and work in conjunction with smart clothing to more accurately track a wider variety of health indicators than the smart phones or watches consumers use today.

“We think one day it will be possible to create a full-body skin-sensor array to collect physiological data without interfering with a person’s normal behavior,” said Bao, who is also the K.K. Lee Professor in the School of Engineering.

This research was supported by Samsung Electronics; the Singapore Agency for Science, Technology and Research; the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; and the Stanford Precision Health and Integrated Diagnosis Center.

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