These New Smart Materials Could Revolutionize Wearable Technology

These New Smart Materials Could Revolutionize Wearable Technology

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There are many ways in which wearable technology is used to monitor and manage personal health, whether it’s fitness trackers, smartwatches, or many other wearable devices. Researchers at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering are developing soft and stretchable electronic components that improve measurement accuracy, hold a charge longer, and offer more comfort for users, potentially revolutionizing the world of wearable technology.

A co-author of the study, Zhibin Yu, explains: “Most health monitoring devices are rigid, but human tissue is soft. Our health monitoring system can comfortably adhere to the human body and accurately monitor cardiovascular variables better than what is on the market today.”

According to Techxplore, wearable devices use LEDs to project light onto human tissues and a photodiode to detect the light. The intensities and waveforms of this interaction correlate to cardiovascular changes in the body. While many of these devices use rigid LEDs and photodiodes embedded in a stiff material like a watchband, the researchers have developed a soft, stretchable photodiode, embedded in an elastic polymer matrix.

Lead author of the study Pengsu Mao said: “The new photodiode fits securely on the skin because it is soft and pliable like our bodies. It gives the user a more precise cardiovascular reading over time.”

The device could improve the diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases and make health care more accessible by providing accurate home testing, which could provide more resources to serve the aging population, and those who need close medical care.