New miniature biosensors 'could aid development of wearable health monitors'

Engineering

New biosensor technology has been developed that could power handheld or wearable devices that can monitor health in sophisticated ways.

Developed by a team at Rutgers University in New Jersey, the sensor is able to electronically barcode microparticles to help identify health and disease indicators, bacteria and viruses, or potential contaminants in the air.

“New biosensor technology has been developed that could allow real-time health monitoring to be carried out using a simple wearable device.“

Since the system is fully electronic, the biosensors can be shrunk to the size of a wearable band or a microchip, and has been shown to be greater than 95 percent accurate in identifying biomarkers.

It is thought that the technology could have numerous applications, including analysing the sweat and blood for cancer biomarkers, assessing potential exposure to dangerous bacteria, viruses and pollutants, or testing food for contaminants.

The researchers expect that commercially viable versions of the technology could be made available within the next two to five years.

Mehdi Javanmard, an assistant professor at the department of electrical and computer engineering at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, said: "Our technology enables true labs on chips. We're talking about platforms the size of a USB flash drive, or something that can be integrated on to an Apple Watch, for example, or a Fitbit."

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