Last week I told you about my family's experience with an under the skin glucose sensor that tracks blood sugar levels. While this Internet of Things trend often takes the form of a thermostat, light bulb or coffee machine, the medical field has been using sensors for a while and it is about to get even more connected with your skin.
We're talking skin tags of a different kind.
First up is a sensor filled smart bandage. Ed Goluch, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Northeastern University is working on a smart band-aid that will monitor infections and alert the person. He was investigating how individual bacteria cells behave by using a sensor. The sensor measured the produced toxins and how cells reacted to antibiotics when the idea hit. Next they build an electrochemical sensor with computer chips to detect Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria that commonly takes advantage of people with compromised immune systems. For this particular bacteria, it can detect of an infection is starting before symptoms show and the patient can put an antibiotic on the wound to heal it. So far the testing has only occurred in the lab and the next step is humans and animals. Pretty Cool.
In Japan, University of Tokyo, in cooperation with JST, has introduced the world’s very first flexible wireless organic sensor. This paper-thin, water proof sensor can also be used for band-aids but also a few other health situations. Like urine. OMG! Did he just write the word for pee in a blog post?!? Yup, we all do it but back to the story. The idea is to be able to detect the chemical compound for health related matters. The circuit was actually tested on a wet diaper where it was successfully able to transmit the needed data and receive power from a nearby source. The cool thing about this sensor is that they wanted to develop something that is easy to make, use, dispose and replace. Instead of expensive components, they went for simple detectors for thing like humidity and air pressure. Being small and low cost, they could be used for such disposable things like diapers or bandages.
Next up is a microchip that can now be printed directly on the skin. Originally designed for sports physicians, MC10 has created a health sensor that is formed with spray-on bandage material. Since it is essentially a second skin, it can detect hydration levels and temperature of the wearer. It lasts about two weeks on the body even while bathing or swimming and it is 1/30 the size of previous sticker sensors.
Lastly, the iPhone 6 and it's NFC (near field communications) chip has been one upped by a human. Robert J. Nelson has had a NFC chip implanted in his hand! We've seen stories the past couple years about body modification with chips so he isn't the first but for $99 he picked up a chipset and got someone to implant it. In his story he states,
'I should make it clear that I am not trying to become a cyborg or anything like that. For me, getting this implant came down to having a strong interest in technology and the connected space, and more to the point is that I am someone who likes seeing technology integrated into life. Or in this case, my body'
Seriously, wouldn't be cool if you twisted your ankle and your sock would tell you how bad the sprain was? And then sent the data to your doctor for an appointment if it was serious? Or just quickly cooled down so you have ice around the sprain? Dizzying, all the applications for this.
Forget about the internet being this thing we use to look up stuff and email...soon we all will be part of the internet with our connected bodies. The Internet of You!