Researchers have created a low-cost medical sensor that can be used to test blood oxygen levels without piercing the skin. The ultrathin device could be used and thrown away like a band-aid.
Future fitness trackers could soon add blood-oxygen levels to the list of vital signs measured with new technology developed by engineers at the University of California, Berkeley. “There are various pulse oximeters already on the market that measure pulse rate and blood-oxygen saturation levels, but those devices use rigid conventional electronics, and they are usually fixed to the fingers or earlobe,” said Ana Arias, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and head of the UC Berkeley team that is developing a new organic optoelectronic sensor.
By switching from silicon to an organic, or carbon-based, design, the researchers were able to create a device that could ultimately be thin, cheap and flexible enough to be slapped on like a Band-Aid during that jog around the track or hike up the hill.
The engineers put the new prototype up against a conventional pulse oximeter and found that the pulse and oxygen readings were just as accurate and the team reported its findings in the current edition of the journal Nature Communications. … (Read more)