New electronic skin tracks heart rate, respiration

Taking the technology of wearables to the next level, researchers have developed a new electronic skin that tracks heart rate, respiration, muscle movement and other health data, and wirelessly transmits it to a smartphone.
The electronic skin developed by South Korean and US-based researchers has better trackers, greater flexibility, smaller size and the ability to stick the self-adhesive patch just about anywhere on the body.
The microsystem could also be used in robotics or autonomous navigation, which the team is now investigating.
“The wearable contains about 50 components connected by a network of 250 tiny wire coils embedded in protective silicone. The soft material enables it to conform to the body unlike other hard monitors,” the researchers stated in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications.
The wearable wirelessly transmits data on movement and respiration as well as electrical activity in the heart, muscles, eyes and brain to a smartphone application.
The coils can stretch and contract like a spring without breaking and are also configured in an unusual spider web pattern that ensures uniform and extreme levels of stretchability and bendability in any direction.
“Combining big data and artificial intelligence technologies, the wireless biosensors can be developed into an entire medical system which allows portable access to collection, storage and analysis of health signals and information,” said Kyung-In Jang, professor at South Korea’s Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology.
According to researchers, the key to creating this microsystem is stretching the elastic silicone base while the tiny wire arcs, made of gold, chromium and phosphate, are laid flat onto it.