Wearable bio-integrated systems could revolutionize medicine

Outside of smartwatches, wristbands, and smart eyewear, wearable technology is making waves in the medical community. For example, we’ve already heard about health-monitoring “tattoos,” which can tell doctors about how your heart, muscles, or brain are functioning. The next evolutionary step could be similar smart patches, developed using nano technology, which not only deliver drugs into your system, but know when you’ve had enough or need a higher dose.

Wearable systems that monitor muscle activity, store data and deliver feedback therapy are the next frontier in personalized medicine and healthcare. However, technical challenges, such as the fabrication of high-performance, energy-efficient sensors and memory modules that are in intimate mechanical contact with soft tissues, in conjunction with controlled delivery of therapeutic agents, limit the wide-scale adoption of such systems. Here, we describe materials, mechanics and designs for multifunctional, wearable-on-the-skin systems that address these challenges via monolithic integration of nanomembranes fabricated with a top-down approach, nanoparticles assembled by bottom-up methods, and stretchable electronics on a tissue-like polymeric substrate. 

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