Scientists from Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea have developed flexible wearable sensors that stick to the skin, paving the way for novel health trackers that could monitor a variety of human activities. They said the device could monitor an array of human activities, including electrocardiogram signals, pulse and speech patterns, demonstrating its potential use in medical applications.
Researchers said, for a wearable sensor to be truly effective, it must be flexible and adhere fully to both wet and dry skin but still remain comfortable for the user. The material that the sensing compounds rest upon is crucial. Woven yarn is a popular substrate, but it sometimes does not fully contact the skin, especially if that skin is hairy.
Typical yarns and threads are also vulnerable to wet environments. Adhesives can lose their grip underwater. To overcome these challenges, researchers worked to develop a low-cost, graphene-based sensor with a yarn-like substrate that uses octopus-like suckers to adhere to skin.