3D-printed wearable sensors run on wireless power

Researchers at the University of Arizona, USA, have developed 3D printed sensors that work away from the outlet. Called wearable biosymbiotic devices, they can be customized and adapted to monitor specific parts of the human body.

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The equipment is not only capable of performing constant real-time body scans of users, but also also operate continuously using just a simple combination of power received via a wireless network and compact electricity storage.

“There is nothing like this on the market. We introduce a completely new concept of customizing a device directly to a person and using wireless power transmission to allow the device to operate hours a day, 7 days a week, without needing to recharge,” says biomedical engineering professor Philipp Gutruf, co-author of the study.

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Custom fit

The wearable sensors created by the researchers are printed to envelop any part of the body. They can be manufactured, for example, in the shape of a virtually imperceptible, lightweight and breathable armband designed to fit perfectly to the bicep, calf or torso.

With this innovative feature, it is possible to measure more specific physiological parameters such as temperature, physical effort and muscle stress much more accurately than using a smartwatch or a smart bracelet that performs this work through patterns measurement globals.

“If you want something close to core body temperature, for example, you should put the sensor in your armpit. To measure how the biceps deforms during exercise, we can insert a sensor around the arm to do this. Because of the way we manufacture the device and strap it to the body, we can use it to collect data that a traditional wrist-wearable device wouldn’t,” explains engineering student Tucker Stuart, lead author of the study.

Wireless

In laboratory tests, researchers used the devices on volunteers to monitor the intensity of physical exercises and how the muscles were deformed during the performance of the activity. The sensors were also able to detect changes in body temperature even in simple actions, such as climbing a single flight of stairs.

Sensors can be placed anywhere on the body (Image: Reproduction/University of Arizona)

Since they are not glued to the skin, nor do they have tangles of wires that make it difficult to perform daily activities, biosymbiotic sensors do not limit mobility users, allowing them to maintain an exercise routine without having to deal with bulky and heavy equipment.

“These devices are powered by a wireless system with a range of several meters and the Energy storage unit allows them to be used outside the home. They are designed to not require any type of user interaction. It’s so simple that you just put it on and forget that it’s doing all the work”, concludes Philipp Gutruf

Source: University of Arizona

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