Wearable electronics and sensors have revolutionized healthcare, wellness, and even recreational activities. However, up until now, electronic skin patches and sensors have primarily been used for diabetes management, cardiovascular monitoring, and some consumer wearables.
We’ve clearly just begun to scratch the surface of wearable technology. As the healthcare industry continues its shift to value-based care, there will be an increased demand for remote patient monitoring. One market that we believe has incredible potential is wearable temperature sensors. Read on to learn more about the benefits of this application.
Measuring core temperature versus surface temperature
One significant differentiator of wearable temperature sensors is their ability to measure core body temperature, not just surface temperature. Core body temperature is a person’s internal temperature, including the blood and organs. This is often the most important temperature to monitor with a patient.
Conventional methods for taking one’s temperature – including the popular forehead (temporal) scanner – rely on surface (or peripheral) temperature. This isn’t ideal because the temperature of the skin can be up to a few degrees cooler than the person’s core body temperature. Plus, surface temperatures can fluctuate and be affected by external temperature, meaning the reading isn’t always accurate.
Benefits of wearable temperature sensors
Wearable temperature sensors are placed directly on the patient’s skin. Once applied, the sensor can provide consistent temperature monitoring or alert caregivers when the patient’s temperature hits a certain level. These products are commonly designed with flexible printed electronics to make the patch as compact and conformable as possible. The underside of the device requires a skin-friendly adhesive to endure a safe, reliable bond.
Wearable temperature sensors can be used in a wide range of medical applications, including patient monitoring (in-patient and out-patient), post-operation care, and fever monitoring. There are several unique advantages that wearable temperature sensors offer over traditional thermometers:
- Temperature sensors can provide a continuous and accurate measure of a patient’s core body temperature
- A single sensor can be used on a patient from pre-op and throughout the perioperative journey
- Wearable sensors are non-invasive and easy to apply
- Skin-friendly adhesive improves comfort and encourages better patient compliance and longer wear times
- Wearable sensors can be designed to store patient data and connect with patient monitoring devices
Designing and producing a wearable temperature sensor
At Tapecon, we’ve had the opportunity to partner with Binghamton University on a new wearable temperature sensor device. The project's goals were to prove the flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) capability and test viability and manufacturability.
After the Binghamton University team provided the initial sensor design, Tapecon engineers made recommendations to update the design based on our flexible electronics and manufacturing experience. We printed the circuit using conductive silver ink. As the project evolves, we are working on testing the functionality of the sensor and selecting stick-to-skin materials.
Let’s make something great
With over 100 years of manufacturing experience, Tapecon works with product teams to solve challenges, create products, and enhance lives. Learn more about our wearable skin tapes and patches applications.