Japanese researchers have developed a fever alarm armband, a flexible, self-powered wearable device that goes off in case of high body temperature.
The flexible organic components developed for this device are well-suited to wearable devices that continuously monitor vital signs including temperature and heart rate for applications in healthcare settings.
"The fever alarm armband demonstrates that it is possible to produce flexible, disposable devices that can greatly enhance the amount of information available to carers in healthcare settings," said professor Takao Someya from the University of Tokyo’s graduate school of engineering.
The system could also be adapted to provide audible feedback on body temperature, or combined with other sensors to register wetness, pressure or heart rate, he added.
The new device combines a flexible amorphous silicon solar panel, piezoelectric speaker, temperature sensor and power supply circuit created with organic components in a single flexible, wearable package.
The fever alarm armband incorporates several first-ever achievements.
It is the first organic circuit able to produce a sound output and the first to incorporate an organic power supply circuit.
Constant monitoring of health indicators such as heart rate and body temperature is the focus of intense interest in the fields of infant, elderly and patient care.
Sensors for such applications need to be flexible and wireless for patient comfort, maintenance-free and not requiring external energy supply, and cheap enough to permit disposable use to ensure hygiene.
"Conventional sensors based on rigid components are unable to meet these requirements, so we have developed a flexible solution that incorporates organic components that can be printed by an inkjet printer on a polymeric film," concluded co-author professor Takayasu Sakurai from the Institute of Industrial Science.
This armband is set to be presented at the 2015 IEEE International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this month.