New stretchable and very thin stick-on device that is placed on the skin may one day help people monitor their heart rate, a new report suggests.
Researchers say that the device could be used by people with a high risk of cardiovascular disease, by measuring how quickly the heart rate goes back to normal after exercise (that can be an indicator of cardiovascular health).
Moreover, the stick-on device could be used by people with health problems like arrhythmia, who would like to constantly monitor their heart rate, or by those who have an increased risk of heart attack, the researchers who designed and build the device said. (note: Arrhythmia, also referred to as irregular heartbeat or cardiac dysrhythmia, is a condition in which the heart rhythms are abnormal – either too fast, or too slow.)
Study author Dae-Hyeong Kim, an Associate Professor at Seoul National University’s School of Chemical and Biological Engineering and a researcher at the Institute for Basic Science in Seoul, Korea (IBS), said that it will take several years to make the product commercially available. In the meantime, the technology used to develop this device, could also be used to improve or change other existing devices that monitor people’s health.
Over the past few years, scientists have developed a series of heart-monitoring devices, such as bands or watches, but these specific devices are often too uncomfortable and rigid, according to researchers. Also, accurate detections of the heart rate may fail to happen, since the devices are not close enough to the person’s skin, the researches added.
However, with the new device a person’s heart rate could be detected with a lot more accuracy, because the stretchable and ultrathin device is placed directly on the individual’s skin. Heart rate data – which is collected during exercise – can also be stored with the new device.
The researchers used a stretchable silicone membrane to build the device. This silicone membrane also contains gold nanoparticles that are closely packed and that can increase the capacity for memory storage. The device also has amplifiers and electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors that help monitor people’s heart rates.
Before placing the device onto a user’s skin, it has to be placed onto a piece of transparent material (that is also stretchable). According to Kim, once attached onto the skin, the device can stay there for several days.
Kim says that the device could stay on for about a week, and could be reused several times, if they were to change the thickness of the substrate material.
The researchers published their report on the new stick-on device January 1 in the journal Science Advances.
Image Source: scienceroll