Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, have created a wearable, flexible oximeter, made of organic electronics printed on bendable plastic that moulds to the body’s contours. The team has developed reflection-mode pulse oximetry, which means LEDs and photodiodes operate at red and near-infrared wavelengths as part of the same array, allowing blood-oxygen readings to be taken on any part of the body.
Yasser Khan, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley, said: “After transplantation, surgeons want to measure that all parts of an organ are getting oxygen. If you have one sensor, you have to move it around to measure oxygenation at different locations. With an array, you can know right away if there is a point that is not healing properly.”
“Wearable oximeter for continuous blood-oxygen monitoring anywhere in the body.“
Ana Claudia Arias, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley, said: “All medical applications that use oxygen monitoring could benefit from a wearable sensor. Patients with diabetes, respiration diseases and even sleep apnoea could use a sensor that could be worn anywhere to monitor blood-oxygen levels 24/7.”