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Bio-patch paves the way for future of e-health in the home

30th April 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

The future of health care is sure to involve some innovative technological developments, and the first of these could be unveiled very soon. Known as the Bio-patch, both healthcare professionals and the public can monitor the body's vital signs using a small skin patch that is "paper-thin".

The Bio-patch has been developed by scientists at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and, so far, appears to have all the qualities that could see it rolled out in hospitals, care environments and homes across the globe. It has been described as versatile, comfortable to wear and inexpensive, presenting the potential for valuable funds to be put towards other useful equipment such as stair lifts.

Speaking to journalists, researcher Geng Yang said that the small device measures bioelectrical signals through the skin and can gather data from a number of different parts of the body. When placed on the chest it provides electrocardiography (ECG) data, measures brainwaves (EEC) when placed on the skull and can also detect muscle response to nervous system stimulation (EMG). On top of all this, the Bio-patch can constantly monitor the body's temperature thanks to a built-in sensor.

Modern technology is continuing to look towards wireless connection, and the Bio-patch is no different; a patient can analyse the readings taken by the small device using a smartphone, or can send the data gathered to healthcare professionals using the internet. This development could be particularly useful, allowing the public to quickly and easily monitor their health from the comfort of their favourite riser recliner chair and still be able to get the advice of a doctor.

Speaking on behalf of the entire team working on the project at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Geng Yang said that the Bio-patch could help certain aspects of healthcare move out of the hospital and into the home, particularly useful for patients that have been discharged following an operation or for older people who want to continue to live independently at home.

The small size, along with the comfortable and inexpensive nature of the Bio-patch have already resulted in the interest of a number of scientific journals, with the thin and small energy source being one of the most influential parts to its success so far. The electronic parts are mounted onto a "flexible foil" which makes it both simple to attach to the skin and comfortable to wear, and with the successful development of a Bio-patch prototype, it could be rolled out to the public very soon.

Image Credit: brykmantra (flickr.com)