The global market for wearable devices is growing by leaps and bounds. As we reported in the article, "Materials matter in wearable medical devices," the market is expected to expand 16.4% CAGR between 2013 and 2019. According to Credit Suisse researchers, it could reach a value of $50 billion within five years. Medical applications represent a significant portion of this sector. So, how does this radiant future look? Pretty cool, if you ask us. But you can judge for yourself by flipping through this slideshow. We begin with a rather remarkable technology from startup MC10 that redefines conformability.
The stretchable, bendable Biostamp
Wearable devices don't get much more conformable than the Biostamp. Developed by Massachusetts-based startup MC10, the Biostamp is a sensor-embedded bendable material that can be applied to the skin like a Band-Aid or temporary tattoo. It can measure body temperature, heart rate, brain activity, hydration levels, and more, and the data can be uploaded to a smartphone for analysis.
The technology was developed by John Rogers, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who is a co-founder of MC10. Nanometer-thick gold electrodes and wires are deposited onto silicon wafers, peeled off, and applied to stretchable polymers. "Unlike organic polymer electronics that can only bend, this approach makes electronics that can stretch and are faster than devices made of organic semiconductor materials, so they can provide precise real-time biological readings," writes Mert Bal on engineering.com.
The BioStamp is expected to cost less than $10 per unit, and MC10 aims to have a commercial product in the next five years, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Click here to go to the next slide.