Stretch into the future of health monitoring


Wearable monitors are on their way to being more stretchable, flexible and capable of more precise measurements than ever before. An international team of researchers led by Huanyu “Larry” Cheng, Dorothy Quiggle Career Development Professor in Penn State’s Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, published a review of modern approaches and ongoing improvements today (July 16) in the International Journal of Extreme Manufacturing. Co-authors include Wanqing Zhang, Penn State and the University of Glasgow; Ling Zhang, Penn State and the Harbin Institute of Technology; and Yabin Liao, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College.

A man in a blue mask stretches a white membrane with black electronics with both hands.

Cheng demonstrates a how a wearable sensor his lab developed can stretch. These types of sensors have applications in medical settings such as hospitals and in emergency care settings. IMAGE: KATE MYERS/PENN STATE

A white membrane with black electronics nestles in the palm of a man's hand.

By making wearable monitors more stretchable and flexible, they are able to more accurately measure vital signs, including heart rate and more, according to Cheng. IMAGE: KATE MYERS/PENN STATE

A white membrane with black electronics molds to a man's forearm.

Cheng’s research team is also focused on developing wireless wearable sensor, which could improve the quality of life for people who require health monitoring but do not want to be attached to wired electrodes. IMAGE: KATE MYERS/PENN STATE

A white membrane with an attached wireless antenna is stretched between a person's hands.

To help power their wearable sensors, as well as obtain the information they are monitoring, Cheng and his team have developed wireless antennas to both harvest energy from the environment and transmit the data. IMAGE: KATE MYERS/PENN STATE


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