What should I print, doctor?

The printable armband can be worn either directly on the skin or on top of clothing. The thermal sensor is located between the arm and the body. The organic power supply circuit is located under the piezo film speaker to reduce surface area. Credit: Sakurai Lab./Someya Lab

Health care will change dramatically by the end of this decade and in the next decade. Cure will become very much personalised (which is what it should be, of course, but did you ever stop thinking that whatever is prescribed to you is done on the assumption that you, your body, is statistically similar to the ones of several other millions....) and drugs, as well as monitoring devices will morph with our bodies.

This news, originated by Tokyo University researchers, is exactly along those lines.

The researchers have managed to print on a polymer sheet a variety of sensors, able to detect temperature and heart beat (more sensors to come), a solar panel to provide the power, a battery, a computer and a communication device. The resulting band is soft and can be worn without annoying the wearer. 

The resulting band is also easy to dispose and clean, all aspects that are important in day by day usage.

The level of complexity that is now possibile to achieve in terms of printing electronics is impressive. Although this news is about leading edge results we can expect that by the end of this decade printing a band customised to a specific patient may become usual. Possibly this might not take place in individual homes but I can see it happening in drugstores.  Just think about it: you get a prescription for your own monitoring device, that is smart in the sense of having been designed to be in symbioses with you.

Once you have these kinds of symbiotic health monitoring and data processing companions the next, obvious step is to have drugs, and other means of cure, on yourself as well, ready to be used upon direction from the doctor to the device. More on this in tomorrow's post.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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