Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Advances in wireless biosensor technology: Subcutaneous sensors will provide even more accurate data on patient health

18.10.2005


Led by Professor Jukka Lekkala, the Wireless research project is developing miniscule subcutaneous sensors, which can be used to monitor, for example, the function of the heart or prosthetic joints even over long periods of time. The Academy of Finland is funding the project, whose goal is to provide the more accurate prediction of changes in patient condition and, in turn, even save lives. ”For example, a subcutaneous EKG monitor will be able to detect cardiac arrhythmia, and the data for this can then be transmitted wirelessly to the physician’s mobile phone or PC,” explains Lekkala.



At present patient health status is primarily monitored with supercutaneous sensors. However, wearable and, in particular, implantable, or subcutaneous, biosensors will provide significant advantages over more conventional methods. The biggest problem with conventional measuring systems is poor skin sensor contact. In subcutaneous measuring systems the sensor-to-body contact is more stable. Furthermore, external electrical interference of the measurement signal is reduced, which improves the measurement result. Health care costs are saved, when monitoring is not time and place-dependent: patients will no longer have to make an appointment with the physician for a consultation or tests. Patients under remote supervision can continue living their normal lives for a longer period of time.

This new technology also makes possible measurements and long-term monitoring, which would be practically impossible using existing technologies. For example, the condition of a prosthetic hip joint can now only be monitored using expensive x-ray imaging-based methods.


Subcutaneous biosensors must not cause problems for the patient

The Wireless research project is also producing new data on the design of subcutaneous biosensors. These should be as small as possible. The integration of electronics and development of packaging technologies make it possible to manufacture sensors and electronics on a silicon chip no bigger than a fingernail. Due to its light weight and small size several of these types of chips can be implanted in a sizable area. The sensors might also contain various microsensors, measurement electronics and wireless communication circuits.

In addition to the small size, the packaging is also challenged by the environment into which it is placed. The Wireless research project is developing sensors and technologies which pose no risk to the patient’s health. ”The work is extremely challenging, because the electronics have to work reliably for long periods of time under the skin, in a moist, corrosive environment, and they must not pose any health hazards, even if the protective coating were to be damaged for some reason,” explains Lekkala.

Advances in biomaterial technologies allow the biocompatible coatings of sensors to be customised for each application. It is even possible to incorporate functional elements, such as by enhancing the implant coating with a layer that releases antibiotics. Sensors should also be flexible, so that they can follow the patient’s movements. This requires that the sensor circuit boards are flexible and its components are thin enough to bend with the circuit board. A silicon chip reduced to a thickness of less than 0.1 millimetre will be flexible. When this flexible package is coated with a thin, protective and biocompatible material, the entire unit will effectively flex with and withstand the patient’s movements while implanted.

Wireless combines electronics, biomaterials and health research

The Wireless research project exploits the know-how of experts from five different fields. In Finland this pioneering group unites experts in physiological modelling, biomaterial technologies, biosensors, wireless communications and electronics packaging technologies. The sensors, which are being developed in Tampere, are expected to be used in major medical, social and commercial application. The project is part of the Academy of Finland Future Electronics (TULE) Research Programme.

Terhi Loukiainen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.aka.fi

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>