UArizona researchers create wearable device that can detect diseases

Oct 27, 2021, 4:35 AM | Updated: 9:37 am

PHOENIX — University of Arizona researchers have developed a 3D-printed wearable mesh device that can detect diseases.

The device, which is the size of a penny and never needs to be charged, can measure the onset of frailty in older adults, diagnose deadly diseases and monitor treatments.

Researcher Phillip Gutruf said testing for diseases, like frailty, normally is a very lengthy process that involves going into a clinic to undergo surveys and exercises.

This device, he said, allows people to do it all from home.

“We put these devices on you and the idea is that you go home and go about your normal life and we will look at the data, diagnose the disease and then you come back in after a couple of months,” Gutruf said.

Full-body scans are taken to make sure the wearable, which researchers are calling a biosymbiotic device, is tailored to each person.

“That allows us to have very intimate contact with the human body, which in turn allows us to get really accurate data,” Gutruf said.

The virtually unnoticeable, lightweight and breathable mesh cuff can be specifically designed for the bicep, calf or torso of the person, the university said, and the specialized placement allows researchers to measure “physiological parameters they otherwise couldn’t.”

Gutruf said it can also tell people what their heart rate is, how much they’re sweating and tracks muscle movements.

“We can put sensors, for example, around your bicep and that allows us to look at the formation of those muscles,” he said.

The device, meant to be worn 24 hours a day, is currently undergoing clinical trials.

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UArizona researchers create wearable device that can detect diseases