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Adhesive Wearables Function As Second Smarter Skin

Adhesive Wearables Function As Second Smarter Skin
technology

Wearables from MC10 and Corventis adhere to and interact with your skin for optimal wellbeing

Adriana Krasniansky, PSFK Labs
  • 14 january 2015

 

For most users, wearables sit on the wrist as smartwatches or fitness trackers à la Jawbone or FitBit. For a dedicated few, wearable tech manifests in a pair of Google Glasses. However, in the near future, wearables will likely be worn by a much larger sector of the population in the form of adhesives that track vital signs, physical performance, and quality of life.

Fitness Trackers: Sticking to a Regimen

Wrist-worn fitness trackers, however advanced, are only as good as the individuals who wear them. Trackers often report inaccurate measures as users remove them for work, outings, or sleep. Willpower, too, is a factor—Fast Company reports that one third of users toss their fitness wearables after six months.

Despite these pain points, people are still determined to track their activity, contributing to a fitness wearable industry valuation of $700 million in 2014.

Adhesive wearables present an opportunity to eliminate the discomfort and gadget fatigue associated with fitness accessories. A major player in the field is AmpStrip, which debuted an adhesive activity tracker at CES 2015. AmpStrip attaches a heart rate monitor onto a 3-inch sticky pad, which lasts on the skin for three days and is waterproof.

Adhesive Wearables Function As Second Skin

While AmpStrip measures performance, startup MC10 is developing hydration sensors that stick to athletes’ skin and analyze sweat, sending alerts if an athlete is dehydrated or low on electrolytes.

Health Monitors: Life-Saving Coverage

While adhesives can make fitness tracking easier, they hold life-saving potential for sick individuals. Hospitals have used adhesive technologies previously (think EEG machines and sleep testing), but today’s wearables give patients greater independence and allow flexibility in care.

In addition to hydration sensors, MC10 has developed a series of medical monitoring BioStamps for individuals who have conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, epilepsy, or multiple sclerosis. These technologies transmit data about heart rate, movement, and electrical activity directly to clinicians, spotting warning signs before an episode occurs. In a similar vein, biotech company Corventis has created an adhesive that monitors heart arrhythmia.

Adhesive Wearables Function As Second Skin

Both technologies catch worrisome activity before it results in a life-threatening situation, keeping affected individuals outside of the hospital and providing greater confidence in independent living.

Adhesive Wearables: Will They Stick?

Though adhesives hold great promise for fitness and medical advancement, they still exhibit some kinks: depending on skin condition and activity, some don’t stick, while others can cause skin irritation if worn for too long. However, if these technologies improve to sit comfortably our bodies, we may adopt them as second (smarter) skin.

To learn more about wearables, check out and download PSFK’s Future of Wearable Tech Report here: http://bit.ly/1IC8SRF

AmpStrip // MC10 // Corventis

Images courtesy of: AmpStrip, MC10 Inc.

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