More sustainable wearable patch sensors for greater patient comfort
At accensors, we are intensively involved with foil-based sensor technology that can be used close to the body. In joint development with Covestro, a concept for reusable smart patches with greater functionality and improved wearer comfort has emerged.
Wearable smart patches are used in medical technology for diagnosis and long-term monitoring of patient vital parameters, such as pulse. These patches can be equipped with numerous sensors and adhere to the human skin using a skin adhesive.
Current trends show increasingly versatile functionalities, improved comfort and miniaturization of these wearable devices. This also includes aspects of sustainability and long-term use.
Long-term monitoring of vital signs is often inconvenient for patients. Wearable devices currently in use are relatively large. Also, they are often not resource efficient, as they are simply discarded when they no longer adhere.
Together with Covestro, we wanted to develop a completely new design for wearable smart patches that simultaneously enables improved comfort, reduces waste, and supports monitoring and diagnosis as a medical device.
The solution is a clever two-element system consisting of a Disposable Patch for single use and a ReUse Patch that can be used multiple times, thus conserving resources. As the monitoring sensors for vital signs come in contact with the patient’s skin, they are housed in the Disposable Patch, while the electronics are embedded in the foam of the ReUse Patch. They are connected to each other via an electrically conductive adhesive tape so that sensor data is passed on to the measurement and data transmission unit. The application is easy: the ReUse Patch can be easily inserted and removed from the Disposable Patch.
With our accensors foil sensor technology it is possible to record multiparametrically for example pulse, pH and temperature via the skin. The ReUse Patch can also be used to measure environmental parameters such as movement, brightness and pressure. An inward-facing camera can be integrated for wound monitoring. There are various options for wireless data transmission, such as Bluetooth LE, NFC, WiFi, etc.
Embedding the lightweight and flexible materials in special films and foams from Covestro, it enables comfortable use and a high level of wearer comfort.
Our functional models of the Disposable Patch are lightweight, small, flexible and thus hardly noticeable on the skin.
A further step in our development has been taken with the production of the first evaluation models. We constructed a sensor layout and produced the first batch of foil sensors. Sample materials of foam were tested and thermoforming of both patches was optimized and carried out successfully.
The next step is to find a skin adhesive that guarantees perfect adhesion properties while being skin-friendly. The patch is supposed to withstand everyday activities and to allow to be removed and replaced gently and painlessly after a few days. Within a couple weeks, we will show you how we selected a suitable skin adhesive tape for our patch. A complete demonstrator of our smart patch is within reach. Keep an eye out for our next update.
Are you interested or do you have any questions about the Smart Patch?
We offer a webinar on 05/26/2021, where you can learn more about the concept and possible applications.