A team from Osaka University, in collaboration with Joanneum Research (Weiz, Austria), has developed an innovative medical device.
It is a wireless health monitoring patch (it constantly measures pulse and pressure. The device uses built-in piezoelectric nanogenerators to feed on biomechanical energy collected from body movement.
This work could lead to new autonomous health sensors and battery-free wearable electronic devices.
A matter of wrist
As wearable technology and smart sensors become more and more popular, the problem of supplying power to all of these monitoring devices becomes more relevant.
Although the energy requirement of each component is basically modest, the need for cables or even batteries becomes more inconvenient.
This is why new energy harvesting methods are needed. The ability of these health monitors to feed on body (or arm alone, or wrist only) movement to activate sensors will help accelerate their adoption in doctors' offices.
The smart patches closer and closer to the entrance to the mercaro
An international team of researchers from Japan and Austria has invented new ultra-flexible patches with a ferroelectric polymer. They are able not only to detect a patient's pulse and blood pressure, but also to self-feed from normal movements.
The key that produced this result was in the base: a substrate only one micron thick.
Using a strong electric field, the ferroelectric crystalline domains in a copolymer were aligned so that the sample had a large electric dipole moment.
L'piezoelectric effect it is very efficient in converting natural movement into small electrical voltages: this is why the device responds quickly to changes in voltage and movement.
Our e-health patches can be used as part of pulse and blood pressure screening, to detect lifestyle-related diseases such as heart disease, signs of stress and sleep apneaAndreas Petritz, first author of the research
These variations can be transduced into signals for medical sensors or to directly harvest energy.
In summary: ever closer to tools that without problems will be able to provide us with crucial and constant information, in real time, about our health.