Wearable technology has gained more interest in recent years, resulting in tremendous progress in wearable and soft sensors. In tandem with this trend, a soft, flexible and stretchable microfiber sensor for real-time healthcare monitoring and diagnosis has been developed by a research team from National University of Singapore (NUS). The microfiber sensor has been programmed to provide information on heart rate, blood pressure, and stiffness in blood vessels with a promise to eventually replace bulky blood pressure and heart rate monitors.
Current methods such as computerized tomography scans and magnetic resonance imaging for detecting plaque in blood vessels need bulky and expensive equipment. The research team designed the microfiber, which is smaller, more portable, and pocket friendly, with the intent to integrating with wearable devices. The sensor measures an individual’s pulse waveform in real time. The resultant data can be employed for determining one’s blood pressure, heart rate and stiffness in blood vessels.
The microfiber sensor is also helpful for patients that are suffering from atherosclerosis, which is the stiffening and thickening of the arteries caused by the buildup of fatty streaks. Over time, these streaks get accumulated into plaques which may totally block off blood flow or break apart, causing organ failure or may generate a stroke or heart attack.