The next big fitness tracker is here, and it is putting watches and strap-on heart monitors to shame.
The University of Illinois and Northwestern University recently teamed up to develop a fitness tracker that sticks to your skin. Described as similar to a temporary tattoo, the patches use a one-of-a-kind microfluidic construction with tiny folded wires that allow it to flex and bend with your arm movements.
Amazingly, these tiny electronic marvels performed just as well as traditional EKG and EEG monitors with the added benefit of a much smaller and more comfortable design. The breakthrough could revolutionize long-term studies that are based on monitoring a patient’s natural movement.
For the fitness industry, a skin-mounted monitor could mean more accurate and reliable results, according to professor John A. Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “When you measure motion on a wristwatch type device, your body is not very accurately or reliably coupled to the device […] relative motion causes a lot of background noise. If you have these skin-mounted devices and an ability to locate them on multiple parts of the body, you can get a much deeper and richer set of information than would be possible. And that’s just the beginning of the rich range of accurate measurements relevant to physiological health that are possible when you are softly and intimately integrated onto the skin.”
Though there is no set date to release the patches to the public, you can learn more about the study in this month’s edition of the Journal of Science.
Also, check out the video demonstration below to see how the revolutionary wire design makes rigid electronics a thing of the past.