Scientists from Singapore have created an ultra-thin microfiber sensor for real-time healthcare diagnosis. This sensor is highly sensitive, simple and low-cost to mass manufacturing. The device is thin as a human hair and can be used even for the treatment of varicose veins and venous ulcers. Furthermore, its characteristics make it the ideal material for wearable electronics.
The researcher's group from the National University of Singapore, led by Professor Lim Chwee Teck, invented a flexible microfibre sensor for real-time diagnosis. The thickness of this device is as the thickness of the human hair, which makes it a universal medicine tool for diagnosing and monitoring a wide range of diseases.
This innovational technology includes a sensing element produced from a liquid metallic alloy, which is wrapped in a soft tensile silicone microtube. It has the ability to measure a patient’s pulse waveform information in real-time that usually used to gauge the individual’s heart rate, blood pressure and density in blood vessels.
Professor Lim Chwee Teck mentioned that this innovative microfibre device can hardly be felt on the skin. Despite the fact that it is extremely thin and flexible, it also has excellent conductive abilities and can highly deform according to the bends of the skin. It can adapt to all the curves of the skin very well. Scientists have already proved the device for real-time monitoring. The results of this experiment are very encouraging.
One of the significant possibilities for using is the detection of atherosclerosis that is characterised by thickening of the arteries, which is due to the fat congestion of fatty particles. Such particles can form plaques, which leads to severe venous diseases, organ diseases, its failure, and even heart attack or stroke. The presence of plaques negatively changed the density of the vessels, thus the pulse waveform, that identified by the device, can determine healthy or indurated artery. In our days, the detection of plaque requires expensive and heavy equipment controlled by qualified medical experts.
The basis of this invention is transparent, biocompatible, highly deformable microtubes that have the ability to customizable to various sizes and cross-sectional geometries. Furthermore, the device can be put into a glove that is worn by doctors to detect necessary symptoms of the patient, thereby rejecting the need for various equipment to supervise heart rate and blood pressure. The invention, based on soft tubular microfluidics, provides a simple, cheaper, and faster solution for users lacking proficiency and access to cleanroom facilities to make an accurate diagnostic. Moreover, this invention can be available in various medical institutions, because it is cheap in production.
The device can highly improve the effectiveness of the diagnostic and decrease the treatment period. Scientists are going to supplement the device with the special app that will allow patients to independently measure the data and the app will send it to a doctor who will manage the remote treatment. The scientific group currently cooperates with the Singapore General Hospital to make a series of experiments to prove this novel device. Scientists have filed a patent for their unique invention.