A groundbreaking wearable device has been developed by researchers to help monitor physical and neurological body signals. This device has a flexible array of sensors together with a minute electronic board known as the Chem-Physpatch. The device has the capability of recording electrocardiogram heart signals and also tracks lactate levels in the body; lactate is a biochemical compound, which marks out any physical exertions of the body immediately they occur.
Chem-Phys patch can be synchronized wirelessly with smart watches, laptops and smartphones, and is normally worn on the torso, close to sternum’s base. The development of this devices is a remarkable feat due to the benefits that it is bound to have. It promises to be flexible besides having the ability to relay signals in real time. Its application can be diverse once it is fully commercialized. For instance, athletes can monitor their workout sessions more accurately. On the other hand, heart specialists can monitor the progress of patients who have heart diseases.
How it Works?
Chem-Phys is fundamentally a device, which is made after a thin and supplepolymer sheet is screen printed. The screen can thereafter be directly applied on the skin. An electrode whose purpose was to detect lactatewas imprinted at a central point on the patch. Two electrocardiogram electrodes were then used to divide the patch into two paths. During the study, several repetitionsof the patch were undergone to avoid conflict of signals. This explains the lack of interference and overlapping of signals.
The device also has the capability of transmitting biochemical and electrical data through Bluetooth. It combines information about the heart rate and lactate levels. It has a tiny electronic board to ensure that transmission is seamless and signals are sent immediately changes occur. The research team that came up with the device faced the challenge of ensuring that signals being relayed by the two sensors stayed intact without interfering with each other.
The study that led to the invention of the device entailed testing the screen printed strip on three gents, who wore it on their chests close to the sternum’s base. They were then asked to engage in intense activity on a stationary exercise bike for 15 to 20 minutes. Among the three, two also had the normal commercial heart rate monitors on their wrists. At the end of the exercise, data collected from Chem-Phys corresponded with that garnered by the normal commercial wristbands.
The Brains behind the Invention
The invention came into being as a result of collaborative efforts between electrical and Nano-engineers from the University of California San Diego’s Center for Wearable Sensors. Experts in the two disciplines worked together with the sole purpose of coming up with a wearable device similar to tri-corders. They wanted this device to have the ability of simultaneously recording and transmitting all the physical, electro-physiological and physical signals that emanate from the human body all day long.
The project was led by Professor Joseph Wang from UC San Diego’s department of Nano engineering andProfessor Patrick Mercier from the institution’s school of engineering. Mercier’s team worked on the aspect of electronics and the transmission of data while Wang’s team was involved in the creation of sensors for the device together with its chemical components. The research exceeded expectations because it has gone ahead to prove that two signals can be interpreted at the same time without any overlaps and interferences.
At the moment, all the commercial wearables available in the consumer market can only record and relay one signal at a time. As it stands, none has the ability to measure biochemical signals in the body, such as the level of lactate. This gap that exists in the commercial market is what engineers from the University of California San Diego intend to bridge. A combination of information about the heart rate and lactate levels is not only revolutionary but also offers a pragmatic solution to athletes who wish to improve their performance without using orthodox and traditional means.
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Chem-Phys is already receiving mainstream recognition. This is attested to by the fact that renowned Olympians are already inquiring about it from Mercier and Wang. Besides the invention, the athletes are also making inquiries about any other technologies in the pipeline at the Center for Wearable Sensors.
Experts explain that the device is bound to provide a diversity of benefits in many areas. It will also act as a springboard for similar studies. Experts in the sports medicine field for instance may start gaining an interest on how this groundbreaking sensor will help in optimizing the training routines of elite sportsmen. This also opens up an interesting possibility as far as the management of cardiovascular diseases is concerned.