Wearable patch design may lead to quicker, cheaper innovation

Healthcare electronic wearable patches may soon be easier, quicker and cheaper to make due to a new approach being taken by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering.

The patent-pending method is a cut-and-paste approach that reduces manufacturing time for disposable tattoo-form patches from several days to 20 minutes, says primary research lead Nanshu Lu. Lu is co-founder and scientific adviser for Stretch Med, which is developing human electrophysiological sensors for clinical use.

Lu and her team published insight on the process in a recent issue of Advanced Materials, according to a university announcement.

Lu says the team's approach is very similar to roll-to-roll manufacturing now used to build devices in bulk using a roll of flexible plastic and a processing machine. The two-step production taps cheap industrial quality metal on polymer sheets which are cut to pattern and combined with adhesive electronics to create temporary tattoo film strips.

Wearables are fast evolving to include more sensor-based models including ones put under the skin for monitoring of a wide range of ailments and ills, as Vaishali Kamat, digital health chief at Cambridge Consultants, recently told TechRadar.

In addition, while wearable patch technology is a still-growing mHealth market, its future bodes bright as a worthwhile investment for providers and as a valuable consumer tool, according to a Tractica report released in the spring.

For more information:
- read the announcement