Study: Inflammation-free skin wearable can potentially be used for long-term health monitoring

A paper published Monday in Nature Nanotechnology describes an inflammation-free, highly gas-permeable, ultrathin, lightweight and stretchable electronic sensor that can be worn on the skin continuously for a week without discomfort. Study author Akihito Miyamoto remarked that "our inflammation-free sensor can be used for continuous monitoring of vital signals under normal, everyday conditions over long periods of time." 

In the study, a one-week skin patch test on 20 participants showed that the risk of inflammation caused by on-skin sensors was inhibited by using the nanomesh sensors. "These tests show a significant reduction in inflammation when compared with conventional plastic and elastomer films," the authors said. 

Moreover, study results showed that the mesh was able to retain its electrical conductivity after being stretched and flexed up to 10000 times, with the authors noting that the wireless system, which can detect touch, temperature and pressure, was "successfully demonstrated using a nanomesh with excellent mechanical durability." The researchers added that electromyogram recordings were taken with minimal user discomfort. Further, the nanomesh conductor's permeability, with water vapor, was superior when compared to other substrates, such as ultrathin plastic foil and a thin rubber sheet.  

Study co-author Takao Someya remarked that "devices that can be worn for a week or longer for continuous monitoring were needed for practical use in medical and sports applications." Someya added that in the future "it will become possible to monitor patients' vital signs without causing any stress or discomfort."  

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