How well does your band aid stick when you get hot and sweaty? This can be a big problem when you’re wearing a smart patch for medical reasons.
Smart patches are transforming healthcare. Patients can now go about their normal activities while wearing a patch that contains sensors to measure and record important biometric data such as heart rate or body temperature. But as the temperature rises or the patient gets more active, the sweat from their skin may cause the adhesives to fail or the sensors to lose contact. Researchers at MIT have come up with a clever solution. They create a sandwich of very thin films that contain sensors and electrodes. At first, they included tiny holes to accommodate the skin’s pores that produce the sweat. But the tiny holes did not line up with the pores. So they used a pattern of holes shaped like dumbbells. These holes overlap in the various layers, providing tiny channels for the sweat to escape to the surface. The result may be smart patches that patients can wear for extended periods of time, delivering more reliable data in the process.